Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories (Hardcover)
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
From the legendary literary master, winner of the National Book Award and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates, a collection of thirteen mesmerizing stories that maps the eerie darkness within us all.
Insightful, disturbing, imaginative, and breathtaking in their lyrical precision, the stories in Lovely, Dark, Deep display Joyce Carol Oates’s magnificent ability to make visceral the terror, hurt, and uncertainty that lurks at the edges of ordinary lives.
In “Mastiff,” a woman and a man are joined in an erotic bond forged out of terror and gratitude. “Sex with Camel” explores how a sixteen-year-old boy realizes the depth of his love for his grandmother—and how vulnerable those feelings make him. Fearful that that her husband is “disappearing” from their life, a woman becomes obsessed with keeping him in her sight in “The Disappearing.” “A Book of Martyrs” reveals how the end of a pregnancy brings with it the end of a relationship. And in the title story, the elderly Robert Frost is visited by an interviewer, an unsettling young woman, who seems to know a good deal more about his life than she should.
A piercing and evocative collection, Lovely, Dark, Deep reveals an artist at the height of her creative power.
“Marvelous. Oates is a giant among us, as prolific as the worst of the writers who produce dreck and turn it into cash, but thoroughly wonderful and important.”
“Where Balzac wanted to give his readers Paris in its entirety, Joyce Carol Oates has dared to give her readers an entire country, our own… [A] collection as alive and as enlivening as any of the earlier volumes in Oates’s already distinguished body of work.”
“Oates, one of few writers who achieves excellence in both the novel and the short story, has more than two dozen story collections to her name and she continues to inject new, ambushing power into the form… Oates’ stories seethe and blaze.”
“As unsympathetic as many of Oates’ mordant and quasi-anonymous characters may appear at first, en masse their fears and anxieties in the face of death and decline epitomize universal recognition of hard facts: We’re all in this together, and nobody gets out alive.”
“Here Oates is at her empathetic best.”
“Oates, a master at work for five decades, is an American literary institution. Surely no collection of short stories, no matter how wonderful or terrible, could break her legacy now. The fact is that this is an excellent collection of short fiction in its own right.”
As the interloping fiancée of “Patricide” says of her deceased lover, the Philip Roth-esque Roland Marks, ‘He knew women really well-you could say, the masochistic inner selves of women.’ We might well say the same of Oates, with the same complimentary awe.”
“A master cartographer of inner landscapes, the prolific Oates returns with a virtuosic collection that moves fluently across a range of characters, settings, and moods. In these 13 stories, she opts for a looser, more expressionistic palette as she gazes grimly, gorgeously, into the crucible of mortality.”
“[Thirteen] stories, structured into four sections, have a range of subjects and points of view while at the same time probing the innate insecurity in the lives of ordinary people... For readers who are already familiar with Oates, this book will not disappoint.”
“Insightful, disturbing and mesmerizing in their lyrical precision, the stories in the book display Joyce Carol Oates’ astonishing ability to make visceral the fear, hurt and uncertainty that lurks at the edges of ordinary lives.”
“With every new book… [Oates] proves anew that she is perhaps our greatest contemporary American writer.”
“The unity of Oates’ stories in this collection resides in their confrontation with aging and death, with the various ways life winds down and ends, and with the darker side of our human nature.”