Joyce Carol Oates
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About Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.
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Titles By Joyce Carol Oates
In the title story of her taut new fiction collection, Joyce Carol Oates writes: Life was not of the surface like the glossy skin of an apple, but deep inside the fruit where seeds are harbored. There is no writer more capable of picking out those seeds and exposing all their secret tastes and poisons than Oates herself—as demonstrated in these six stories.
One tale opens with a woman, naked except for her high-heeled shoes, seated in front of the window in an apartment she cannot, on her own, afford. In this exquisitely tense narrative reimagining of Edward Hopper’s Eleven A.M., 1926, the reader enters the minds of both the woman and her married lover, each consumed by alternating thoughts of disgust and arousal, as he rushes, amorously, murderously, to her door.
In “The Long-Legged Girl,” an aging, jealous wife crafts an unusual game of Russian roulette involving a pair of Wedgwood teacups, a strong Bengal brew, and a lethal concoction of medicine. Who will drink from the wrong cup, the wife or the dance student she believes to be her husband’s latest conquest?
In “The Sign of the Beast,” when a former Sunday school teacher’s corpse turns up, the blighted adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder—but is he really responsible? And another young outsider, Horace Phineas Love, Jr., is haunted by apparitions at the very edge of the spectrum of visibility after the death of his tortured father in “Night-Gaunts,” a fantastic ode to H.P. Lovecraft.
“Consummately well-written, stylistically dashing...forthrightly nightmarish.”―Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-two disturbing tales of crime and suspense from "America's preeminent fiction writer" (New Yorker)
Two hitmen in a depressed rust belt town struggle with a job gone wrong. A girl witnesses a horrifying accident and carries it with her for the rest of her life. Medical students bring a severed foot to a college party. Five-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Joyce Carol Oates has made a career of exploring the forbidden corners of human experience, and the stories collected here, spanning her first three decades as a writer, are among her most unsettling and unforgettable works to date.
Originally published in long out-of-print volumes, these tales have not appeared in any form this century—until now; formally fresh and endlessly experimental, they show a writer boldly engaging with disturbing truths and terrifying possibilities, and deconstructing the tropes and expectations of traditional prose writing as she does so. But beyond their stylistic ingenuity, these are creepy, suspenseful stories that cut straight to the bone; their darkness will linger long after the final page is turned.
A must-read for long-time fans of Joyce Carol Oates and an excellent introduction for the uninitiated, the twenty-two tales included in Extenuating Circumstances exemplify the author’s idiosyncratic spookiness, “visceral, psychologically involving, and socially astute" (Booklist).
“Timely, monumental. . . . Yet another piercing examination of American culture by the writer this reviewer considers our country's greatest living novelist. . . . It is brilliant. How blessed we are to have her as a novelist in our chaotic, confusing times. Night is spot on for these times of racial divide, as well as in portraying the fractious family dynamic that many of us know all too well. . . . Night deserves the top spot on your quarantine nightstand. Here's a fervent salute to Oates, our finest American novelist, for this one.” -- Star Tribune
The bonds of family are tested in the wake of a profound tragedy, providing a look at the darker side of our society by one of our most enduringly popular and important writers
Night Sleep Death The Stars is a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all.
Stark and penetrating, Joyce Carol Oates’s latest novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author’s bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys.
A New York Times Notable Book
The Mulvaneys are blessed by all that makes life sweet. But something happens on Valentine’s Day, 1976—an incident that is hushed up in the town and never spoken of in the Mulvaney home—that rends the fabric of their family life...with tragic consequences. Years later, the youngest son attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys’ former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that brought about the family’s tragic downfall.
Profoundly cathartic, this extraordinary novel unfolds as if Oates, in plumbing the darkness of the human spirit, has come upon a source of light at its core. Moving away from the dark tone of her more recent masterpieces, Joyce Carol Oates turns the tale of a family struggling to cope with its fall from grace into a deeply moving and unforgettable account of the vigor of hope and the power of love to prevail over suffering.
“It’s the novel closest to my heart....I’m deeply moved that Oprah Winfrey has selected this novel for Oprah’s Book Club, a family novel presented to Oprah’s vast American family.”—Joyce Carol Oates
Four brand-new novellas by the #1 New York Times-bestselling, National Book Award-winning “grand mistress of ghoulishness” (Publishers Weekly).
An academic in Pennsylvania discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. A pubescent girl, overcome with loneliness, befriends a feral cat that becomes her protector from the increasingly aggressive males that surround her. A brilliant but shy college sophomore is distraught to discover that she’s pregnant, and the professor who takes her under his wing may not have innocent intentions. And a woman who marries into a family shattered by tragedy finds herself haunted by her predecessor’s voice, an inexplicably befouled well, and a compulsive attraction to a garage that took two lives.In these psychologically daring, chillingly suspenseful pieces, the author of We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde writes about women facing threats past and present, once again cementing her reputation for “great intelligence and dead-on imaginative powers” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
A NOVEL OF LOVE AND LOSS FROM BESTSELLING AND PRIZEWINNING AUTHOR JOYCE CAROL OATES
Amid a starkly beautiful but uncanny landscape in New Mexico, a married couple from Cambridge, MA takes residency at a distinguished academic institute. When the husband is stricken with a mysterious illness, misdiagnosed at first, their lives are uprooted and husband and wife each embarks upon a nightmare journey. At thirty-seven, Michaela faces the terrifying prospect of widowhood - and the loss of Gerard, whose identity has greatly shaped her own.
In vividly depicted scenes of escalating suspense, Michaela cares desperately for Gerard in his final days as she comes to realize that her love for her husband, however fierce and selfless, is not enough to save him and that his death is beyond her comprehension. A love that refuses to be surrendered at death—is this the blessing of a unique married love, or a curse that must be exorcized?
Part intimately detailed love story, part horror story rooted in real life, BREATHE is an exploration of hauntedness rooted in the domesticity of marital love, as well as our determination both to be faithful to the beloved and to survive the trauma of loss.
A new collection of dark, chilling tales from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author
From literary icon Joyce Carol Oates comes a brand new collection of haunting and, at times, darkly humorous mystery & suspense stories. These are tales of psyches pushed to their limits by the expectations of everyday life—from a woman who gets lost on her drive home to her plush suburban home and ends up breaking into a stranger’s house, to a first-person account of a cloned 1940s magazine pinup girl being sold at auction and embodying America’s ideals of beauty and womanhood.
Taken as a whole, the collection forms a poignant tapestry of regular people searching for their place in a social hierarchy, often with devastating and disastrous results. Rendered with stylish, fresh writing from an author who continues to push the envelope, the stories deftly weave in and out of a stream-of-consciousness to reflect the ways we process traumatic experiences and impart that uncertainty and uneasiness to the reader.
Originally appearing in publications as disparate as Harper’s, Vice, and Conjunctions, the stories comprising Night, Neon showcase Oates’ mastery of the suspense story—and her relentless use of the form to conduct unapologetically honest explorations of American identity.
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prominent writers of her generation, and she is fearless when exploring the most disturbing corners of human nature. In Evil Eye, Oates offers four chilling tales about love so powerful that people might die—or kill—for it.
In the title story, we meet Mariana, the young fourth wife of a prominent intellectual. When her husband’s first wife comes to visit, Mariana learns a terrible secret that threatens her marriage and sanity.
In “So Near Any Times Always,” shy teenager Lizbeth meets Desmond, a charming older boy who offers the first spark of romance. Yet as their relationship blossoms, Lizbeth realizes that a menacing soul lies beneath Desmond’s perfect façade.
In “The Execution,” spoiled college student Bart Hansen has planned the perfect crime to get back at his condescending parents. What he didn’t plan on was the resilience of his mother’s love, even in the face of death.
And in “The Flatbed,” childhood trauma has prevented Cecelia from enjoying physical intimacy with a man. But when she meets the love of her life, Cecelia must confront the demon who stole her innocence long ago.
With the razor-sharp prose that has made Joyce Carol Oates a living legend, Evil Eye shows love as sporadically magical, mysterious, and murderous.
“A dazzling, disturbing, tour de force of Gothic suspense: four odd, compelling, ingeniously narrated tales that gain in power and resonance when read in conjunction with each other.” —The Boston Globe
“Exquisitely suspenseful. . . . The relationships between the damaged, sometimes monstrous individuals who people these pages will keep the reader riveted.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In A Garden of Earthly Delights, Oates presents one of her most memorable heroines, Clara Walpole, the beautiful daughter of Kentucky-born migrant farmworkers. Desperate to rise above her haphazard existence of violence and poverty, determined not to repeat her mother’s life, Clara struggles for independence by way of her relationships with four very different men: her father, a family man turned itinerant laborer, smoldering with resentment; the mysterious Lowry, who rescues Clara as a teenager and offers her the possibility of love; Revere, a wealthy landowner who provides Clara with stability; and Swan, Clara’s son, who bears the psychological and spiritual burden of his mother’s ambition.
A Garden of Earthly Delights is the first novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, Expensive People, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
A girl comes of age with a vengeance—and help from a friend—in a tale of unnerving suspense from National Book Award winner and literary master Joyce Carol Oates.
Bad things have been happening since Mia began to mature. Her dad left. Boys at school can’t keep their hands to themselves. A lecherous stepfather has moved in. Her only refuge is an abandoned lot on her suburban cul-de-sac, crawling with feral felines—one of which follows Mia home. Ghostly white and affectionate, she is Mia’s new companion and—as Mia’s tormenters will soon discover—her fierce protector.
Joyce Carol Oates’s Miao Dao is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.
Includes “Big Momma,” a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Short Story
Here are six of Joyce Carol Oates’s most “frightening—and deeply disturbing—short stories” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In the titular story, a boy becomes obsessed with his cousin’s doll after her tragic death. As he grows older, he begins to collect “found dolls” from surrounding neighborhoods . . . each with its own sinister significance.
In “Gun Accident,” a teenage girl is delighted to house-sit for her favorite teacher, until an intruder forces his way inside—changing more than one life forever. The collection closes with the taut tale of a mystery bookstore owner whose designs on a rare bookshop in scenic New Hampshire devolve into a menacing game with real-life consequences. “At the heart of each story is a predator-prey relationship, and what makes them so terrifying is that most of us can easily picture ourselves as the prey, at least at some time during our lives” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
“Everything she writes, in whatever genre, has an air of dread, because she deals in vulnerabilities and inevitabilities, in the desperate needs that drive people . . . to their fates. A sense of helplessness is the essence of horror, and Oates conveys that feeling as well as any writer around.” —Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review
“One of the stranger parts of the human condition may be our deep fascination, and at times troubling exploration, of the darker aspects of our nature . . . No other author explores the ugly, and at times, blazingly unapologetic underbelly of these impulses quite like Joyce Carol Oates in The Doll-Master.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“In her new collection . . . [Oates] relishes moments of gothic melodrama, while rooting them firmly in grindingly ordinary American lives.” —The Guardian
“Oates convincingly demonstrates her mastery of the macabre with this superlative story collection . . . This devil’s half-dozen of dread and suspense is a must read.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review