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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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“A painful truth of family life: the most tender emotions can change in an instant. You think your parents love you but is it you they love, or the child who is theirs?” --Joyce Carol Oates, My Life as a Rat
Which should prevail: loyalty to family or loyalty to the truth? Is telling the truth ever a mistake and is lying for one’s family ever justified? Can one do the right thing, but bitterly regret it?
My Life as a Rat follows Violet Rue Kerrigan, a young woman who looks back upon her life in exile from her family following her testimony, at age twelve, concerning what she knew to be the racist murder of an African-American boy by her older brothers. In a succession of vividly recalled episodes Violet contemplates the circumstances of her life as the initially beloved youngest child of seven Kerrigan children who inadvertently “informs” on her brothers, setting into motion their arrests and convictions and her own long estrangement.
Arresting and poignant, My Life as a Rat traces a life of banishment from a family—banishment from parents, siblings, and the Church—that forces Violet to discover her own identity, to break the powerful spell of family, and to emerge from her long exile as a “rat” into a transformed life.
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
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.
“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.
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).
“Its power of evocation is remarkable.” —The New Yorker
In the midst of a long summer on Grayling Island, Maine, twenty-six-year-old Kelly Kelleher longs for something interesting to happen to her—something that will make her finally feel some of what she imagines other people must feel when they watch the fireworks explode off the beach. So when Kelly meets The Senator at an exclusive party and he asks her to go back to a hotel room on the main island with him, she says yes. Even though the senator is old enough to be her father, even though he has perhaps been drinking too heavily to get behind the wheel, the danger of saying yes is an inevitable and even exciting part of the adventure Kelly is finally going to have.
However, as The Senator’s car whips around the island’s roads and eventually crashes through a guardrail, it becomes clear to Kelly and the reader that this man embodies a wholly different and more sinister type of danger, one much larger and harder to contain than the horrible events that unfold as Kelly is left in the sinking car. Black Water is a chilling meditation on power, trust, and violation and a timeless classic from one of America’s foremost storytellers.
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.
Less than twenty-four hours after exchanging vows with her new husband, Willem, Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge, and he quickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what his wife might be hiding. Why, for example is there a rash-like red mark circling her wrist? What does she dream about that causes her to wake from the sound of her own screams?
Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before—a story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug-addled father; a daughter’s terrifying captivity; and the demons behind her terrible recurring dreams of wandering through a field ridden with human skulls and bones…
From a recipient of a National Book Award and three Bram Stoker Awards, this suspenseful, twisting tale, named one of the scariest books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, is a “fast-paced examination of the destructive and restorative nature of obsessive love” (Booklist).
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).
Zombie is a classic novel of dark obsession from the extraordinary Joyce Carol Oates. A brilliant, unflinching journey into the mind of a serial killer, Zombie views the world through the eyes of Quentin P., newly paroled sex offender, as he chillingly evolves from rapist to mass murderer. Joyce Carol Oates—the prolific author of so many extraordinary bestsellers, including The Gravediggers Daughter, Blonde, and The Falls—demonstrates why she ranks among America’s most respected and accomplished literary artists with this provocative, breathtaking, and disturbing masterwork.
Unlike anything Joyce Carol Oates has written before, A Widow’s Story is the universally acclaimed author’s poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of Raymond Smith, her husband of forty-six years, and its wrenching, surprising aftermath. A recent recipient of National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, Oates, whose novels (Blonde, The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Little Bird of Heaven, etc.) rank among the very finest in contemporary American fiction, offers an achingly personal story of love and loss. A Widow’s Story is a literary memoir on a par with The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and Calvin Trillin’s About Alice.