Joyce Carol Oates is an unparalleled investigator of human flaws. In these eight stories, she deftly tests the bonds between damaged individuals a brother and sister, a teacher and student, two strangers on a subway in the fearless prose for which she’s become so celebrated.
In the title story High Crime Area,” a white, aspiring professor is convinced she is being followed. No need to panic, she has a handgun stowed away in her purse just in case. But when she turns to confront her black, male shadow, the situation isn’t what she expects. In The Rescuer,” a promising graduate student detours to inner city Trenton, New Jersey to save her brother from a downward spiral. But she soon finds out there may be more to his world than to hers. And in The Last Man of Letters,” the world-renowned author X embarks on a final grand tour of Europe. He has money, fame, but not a whole lot of manners. A little thing like etiquette couldn’t bring a man like X down, could it?
In these biting and beautiful stories, Oates confronts, one by one, the demons within us. Sometimes it’s the human who wins, and sometimes it’s the demon.
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Joyce Carol Oates is the author of such national best-sellers as The Falls, Blonde, and We Were the Mulvaneys. She has been nominated for six National Book Awards, winning for them.Review:
These tales of darkness and dread’ won’t put you to sleep, but they’ll give you more interesting nightmares. . . . In a way, every story is a character study . . . sure to focus a basilisk eye on the weak spot that reveals our own ugly impulses and make us defenseless against the terrors of the night.” New York Times Book Review
[In High Crime Area], there’s little overt violence; it’s all in the mind, as [Oates] slowly tightens the noose. Drenched in clammy atmosphere, Oates’ work explores the heads of both ordinary people and those who are at least a little damaged.” Seattle Times
Scary, brooding and entertaining. . . . The despair is palpable and the tension always high in these stories told in a combination of hyper-realism and emotionally charged suspense. Horrific and creepy, High Crime Area still manages to smartly critique American society and its uneasy feelings on race, sexuality, gender, academia and family dynamics.” Bookreporter
Oates carries forward the great American dark-tales tradition with spellbinding craft, a cutting female eye, and a keen sense of how the diabolical infiltrates everyday existence. . . . Powerhouse Oates brings both exterior and interior worlds into excruciatingly sharp focus, evoking dread, grim exaltation, and the paralysis of prey. Oates’ potent dark tales are addictive.” Booklist
Oates’ mastery of imagery and of stream of consciousness enhances the gritty settings and the frailties of her grotesque and pitiable subjects." Kirkus Reviews
Exquisitely written . . . there is no better stylist alive than Joyce Carol Oates. . . . Read High Crime Area and prepare yourself for eight surprises, the number of stories in the book.” Huntington News
Oates offers unexpected glimmers of redemption amid the grotesquerie, degradation, and exploitation that fill this collection’s eight tales. . . . Oates is at her best depicting characters who seem perplexed by their own needs, desires, and obligations.” Publishers Weekly
These stories take the reader to desolate intersections and grimy tenements that mirror the dark reaches of the human soul; the combined elements of literary fiction with genre fiction and true crime offer added audience appeal.” Library Journal
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