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A gripping and moving new collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates, which reimagines the meaning of family-by unexpected, often startling means With the unflinching candor and sympathy for which Joyce Carol Oates is celebrated, these fourteen stories examine the intimate lives of contemporary American families: the tangled ties between generations, the desperation-and the covert, radiant happiness-of loving more than one is loved in return. In "Cutty Sark" and "Landfill," the bond between adolescent son and mother reverberates with the force of an unspoken passion, bringing unexpected consequences for the son. In "A Princeton Idyll," a woman is forced to realize, decades later, her childhood role in the destruction of a famous, beloved grandfather's life. In "Magda Maria," a man tries to break free of the enthralling and dangerous erotic obsession of his life. In the gripping title story, Oates boldly reimagines the true-crime story of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her children in 2001. Several stories-"Suicide by Fitness Center," "The Glazers," and "Dear Joyce Carol,"-take a less tragic turn, exploring with mordant humor the shadowy interstices between self-awareness and delusion. Dramatic, intensely rendered, and always provocative, Dear Husband, provides an unsettling and fascinating look into the mysterious heart of America.
Joyce Carol Oates's Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In Expensive People, Oates takes a provocative and suspenseful look at the roiling secrets of America's affluent suburbs. Set in the late 1960s, this first-person confession is narrated by Richard Everett, a precocious and obese boy who sees himself as a minor character in the alarming drama unfolding around him. Fascinated by yet alienated from his attractive, self-absorbed parents and the privileged world they inhabit, Richard incisively analyzes his own mismanaged childhood, his pretentious private schooling, his "successful-executive" father, and his elusive mother. In an act of defiance and desperation, eleven-year-old Richard strikes out in a way that presages the violence of ever-younger Americans in the turbulent decades to come.A National Book Award finalist, Expensive People is a stunning combination of social satire and gothic horror. "You cannot put this novel away after you have opened it," said The Detroit News. "This is that kind of book-hypnotic, fascinating, and electrifying."Expensive People is the second novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This collection of fifty-two poems from the author of Angel Fire and Anonymous Sins explores the annihilation of the time-bound ego, a liberating, sometimes terrifying experience for all who live within the 'fabulous beast' of history and nature. The poems explore the shifting, elusive point at which the inwardness of individual experience touches upon the larger consciousness of a species or an era, forming a connection with a 'self' that goes beyond subjectivity.
An Otto Penzler Book Sixteen-year-old Katya Spivak is walking with her two summer babysitting charges in Bayhead Harbor, New Jersey, when she's approached by silver-haired courtly Marcus Kidder-a local resident of some renown. At first his interest in Katya seems innocent, even as Katya's interest in him seems precociously manipulative. His lovely oceanside home, the children's books he has written, his classical music, and his lavish presents to her-Mr. Kidder's life contrasts starkly with Katya's working-class-and marginally criminal-family background. By almost imperceptible degrees, the relationship between Katya and the gentlemanly Marcus Kidder changes, and posing for him isn't the romantic endeavor it had seemed. What does this mysterious rich man really want from Katya, who is young enough to be his granddaughter? And what will he risk to get it?In the tradition of Oates's classic novella Beasts, A Fair Maiden is an unsettling, ambiguous tale of mounting suspense and gradually unfolding horror.
A tribute to the brilliant craftsmanship of one of our most distinguished writers, providing valuable insight into her inspiration and her method Joyce Carol Oates is widely regarded as one of America's greatest contemporary literary figures. Having written in a number of genres -- prose, poetry, personal and critical essays, as well as plays -- she is an artist ideally suited to answer essential questions about what makes a story striking, a novel come alive, a writer an artist as well as a craftsman. In The Faith of a Writer, Oates discusses the subjects most important to the narrative craft, touching on topics such as inspiration, memory, self-criticism, and "the unique power of the unconscious." On a more personal note, she speaks of childhood inspirations, offers advice to young writers, and discusses the wildly varying states of mind of a writer at work. Oates also pays homage to those she calls her "significant predecessors" and discusses the importance of reading in the life of a writer. Oates claims, "Inspiration and energy and even genius are rarely enough to make 'art': for prose fiction is also a craft, and craft must be learned, whether by accident or design." In fourteen succinct chapters, The Faith of a Writer provides valuable lessons on how language, ideas, and experience are assembled to create art.
In this collection of twenty-one unforgettable stories, Joyce Carol Oates explores the mysterious private lives of men and women with vivid, unsparing precision and sympathy. By turns interlocutor and interpreter, magician and realist, she dissects the psyches of ordinary people and their potential for good and evil with chilling understatement and lasting power.
It is 1950 and, after a disastrous honeymoon night, Ariah Erskine's young husband throws himself into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls. Ariah, "the Widow Bride of the Falls," begins a relentless seven-day vigil in the mist, waiting for his body to be found. At her side is confirmed bachelor and pillar of the community Dirk Burnaby, who is unexpectedly drawn to her. What follows is a passionate love affair, marriage, and family -- a seemingly perfect existence. But tragedy soon takes over their lives, poisoning their halcyon years with distrust, greed, and murder. Set against the mythic-historic backdrop of Niagara Falls in the mid-twentieth century, this haunting exploration of the American family in crisis is a stunning achievement from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation).This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Nine short stories from the famous author
Later, I would think of it as crossing over. From a known territory into an unknown. From a place where people know you to a place where people only think they know you. It began with me a year ago this past July. A few weeks after my fourteenth birthday. When Freaky Green Eyes came into my heart. When her parents separate, Franky Pierson has no trouble deciding whose side she's on. After all, her mother is the one who chose to leave. And when her mother is suddenly reported missing, Franky believes she's simply pulled a disappearing act and deserted their family for good. But a part of Franky, a part she calls Freaky Green Eyes, knows that something is wrong. And it's up to Freaky to open Franky's eyes to the truth.
Joyce Carol Oates's Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. InA 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 masterly work from a writer with "the uncanny ability to give us a cinemascopic vision of her America" (National Review),A Garden of Earthly Delightsis the opening stanza in what would become one of the most powerful and engrossing story arcs in literature. A Garden of Earthly Delightsis the first novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series,Expensive People,them,andWonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
An Otto Penzler Book The need for love--obsessive, self-destructive, unpredictable--takes us to forbidden places, as in the chilling world of Give Me Your Heart, a new collection of stories by the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates. In the suspenseful "Strip Poker," a reckless adolescent girl must find a way of turning the tables on a gathering of increasingly threatening young men--Can she "outplay" them? In the award-winning "Smother!" a young woman's nightmare memory of childhood brings trouble on her professor-mother--Which of them will "win"? In "Split/Brain" a woman who has blundered into a lethal situation confronts the possibility of saving herself--Will she take it? In "The First Husband," a jealous man discovers that his wife seems to have lied about her first marriage, and exacts a cruel revenge, years after the fact. In these and other powerful tales, children veer beyond their parents' control, wives and husbands wake up to find that they hardly know each other, haunted pasts intrude upon uncertain futures, and those who bring us the most harm may be the nearest at hand. In ten razor-sharp stories, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates shows that the most deadly mysteries often begin at home.
Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small town in upstate New York. Here the father--a former high school teacher--is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. When local prejudice and the family's own emotional frailty give rise to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger's daughter, Rebecca heads out into America. Embarking upon an extraordinary odyssey of erotic risk and ingenious self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace--on the road to a bittersweet and distinctly "American" triumph.
Poet, novelist, critic, and the winner of the PEN/Malamud Award for lifetime achievement in the short story as an art form, Joyce Carol Oates in this collection offers readers 25 rich, hard-edged stories stamped with her inimitable touch: tales of violence ... or uncertainty ... or with the macabre running like lifeblood through them. In the O. Henry Award-winning title story, Heat, young twin sisters are murdered, and both they and their killer are remembered by a woman who was their contemporary and, in a way, a victim as well. ... In Leila Lee, a young woman who marries an older man tries to develop a relationship with her husband's angry teenage son. ... In House Hunting, a husband perplexed by his disintegrating marriage goes house- hunting without his wife, and embarks on a quest--not only for a house, but for his future. From small towns to big cities, from the working class to the upper class, there is scarcely an aspect of the American experience that Joyce Carol Oates has not magically made her own. Her stories shock, provoke, and astound us with their commentary on the human condition.
No other writer can match the impressive oeuvre of Joyce Carol Oates. High Lonesome: New and Selected Stories 1966-2006 gathers short fiction from the acclaimed author's seminal collections and includes eleven new tales that further demonstrate the breathtaking artistry and striking originality of an incomparable talent who "has imbued the American short story with an edgy vitality and raw social surfaces" (Chicago Tribune).
I Am No One You Know contains nineteen startling stories that bear witness to the remarkably varied lives of Americans of our time. In "Fire," a troubled young wife discovers a rare, radiant happiness in an adulterous relationship. In "Curly Red," a girl makes a decision to reveal a family secret, and changes her life irrevocably. In "The Girl with the Blackened Eye," selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2001, a girl pushed to an even greater extreme of courage and desperation manages to survive her abduction by a serial killer. And in "Three Girls," two adventuresome NYU undergraduates seal their secret love by following, and protecting, Marilyn Monroe in disguise at Strand Used Books on a snowy evening in 1956. These vividly rendered portraits of women, men, and children testify to Oates's compassion for the mysterious and luminous resources of the human spirit.
In turn-of-the-century, upstate New York, a strange, beautiful child who wanders the countryside like a sleepwalker is married off to a coarse, much older farmer. Bitter and increasingly estranged, she falls in love with a tall, black, itinerant water diviner. When the doomed affair ends tragically, she withdraws completely.
"Anellia" is a young student who, though gifted with a penetrating intelligence, is drastically inclined to obsession. Funny, mordant, and compulsive, she falls passionately in love with a brilliant yet elusive black philosophy student. But she is tested most severely by a figure out of her past she'd long believed dead. Astonishingly intimate and unsparing, and pitiless in exposing the follies of the time, I'll Take You There is a dramatic revelation of the risks -- and curious rewards -- of the obsessive personality as well as a testament to the stubborn strength of a certain type of contemporary female intellectual.
In twenty-nine provocative essays, Joyce Carol Oates maps the "rough country" that is both the treacherous geographical and psychological terrain of the writers she so cogently analyzes--Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, E. L. Doctorow, and Margaret Atwood, among others--and the emotional terrain of Oates's own life following the unexpected death of her husband, Raymond Smith, after forty-eight years of marriage. "As literature is a traditional solace to the bereft, so writing about literature can be a solace, as it was to me when the effort of writing fiction seemed beyond me, as if belonging to another lifetime," Oates writes. "Reading and taking notes, especially late at night when I can't sleep, has been the solace, for me, that saying the Rosary or reading The Book of Common Prayer might be for another." The results of those meditations are the essays of In Rough Country--balanced and illuminating investigations that demonstrate an artist working at the top of her form.
The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, edited by Greg Johnson, offers a rare glimpse into the private thoughts of this extraordinary writer, focusing on excerpts written during one of the most productive decades of Oates's long career. Far more than just a daily account of a writer's writing life, these intimate, unrevised pages candidly explore her friendship with other writers, including John Updike, Donald Barthelme, Susan Sontag, Gail Godwin, and Philip Roth. It presents a fascinating portrait of the artist as a young woman, fully engaged with her world and her culture, on her way to becoming one of the most respected, honored, discussed, and controversial figures in American letters.
One wonders how Oates got the time to write, considering the sheer heft of her journals, but then one comes to the realization that the journals are the bones without flesh, or the flesh without bones, or some knot of both that became the root of her prolific output. Entries concern family, colleagues, and friends but never descend to pure gossip, largely due to editing that protects the dignity of the living. The effect of this necessary surgery is not to leave blanks in Oates's history but to reveal a self-imposed discipline bordering on the perturbing. Yet Oates does not combine this discipline with distance and instead establishes and maintains her life's project, an "experiment in consciousness." Oates hones her writing and her art page by page, tempting the reader to establish the discipline of reading with the journal in one hand and the relevant novel in the other. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Joyce Carol Oates returns with a dark, romantic, and captivating tale, set in the Great Lakes region of upstate New York--the territory of her remarkably successful New York Times bestseller The Gravedigger's Daughter. Set in the mythical small city of Sparta, New York, this searing, vividly rendered exploration of the mysterious conjunction of erotic romance and tragic violence in late-twentieth-century America returns to the emotional and geographical terrain of acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates's previous bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and The Gravedigger's Daughter. When a young wife and mother named Zoe Kruller is found brutally murdered, the Sparta police target two primary suspects, her estranged husband, Delray Kruller, and her longtime lover, Eddy Diehl. In turn, the Krullers' son, Aaron, and Eddy Diehl's daughter, Krista, become obsessed with each other, each believing the other's father is guilty. Told in halves in the very different voices of Krista and Aaron, Little Bird of Heaven is a classic Oates novel in which the lyricism of intense sexual love is intertwined with the anguish of loss, and tenderness is barely distinguishable from cruelty. By the novel's end, the fated lovers, meeting again as adults, are at last ready to exorcise the ghosts of the past and come to terms with their legacy of guilt, misplaced love, and redemptive yearning.
The stories of The Lost Salt Gift of Blood are remarkably simple - a family is drawn together by shared and separate losses, a child's reality conflicts with his parents' memories, a young man struggles to come to terms with the loss of his father.Yet each piece of writing in this critically acclaimed collection is infused with a powerful life of its own, a precision of language and a scrupulous fidelity to the reality of time and place, of sea and Maritime farm.Focusing on the complexities and abiding mysteries at the heart of human relationships, the seven stories of The Lost Salt Gift of Blood map the close bonds and impassable chasms that lie between man and woman, parent and child.From the Paperback edition.
Fresh from the triumph of "We Were the Mulvaneys", Oates continues her exploration of family love and the possibilities of human redemption with this compelling story of how one young woman suffers profoundly in the pursuit of love, but manages to emerge safe and whole.
Marya's early days of poverty, her life as an abandoned child raised by an aunt and uncle, through hard-won college success and an academic career. Marya's development and her fears and insecurities are revealed in a very autobiographical manner.
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