The Assignation

The Assignation

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by Joyce Carol Oates
     
 

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A woman's lover seems not to recognize her on the street. A teenage girl accepts a ride from a stranger in a rust-speckled Cadillac. An old man is obsessed by the memory of his innocent childhood intrusion on a half-dressed aunt.

In forty-four very short, very powerful stories, Joyce Carol Oates fashions brief, intensely compact dramas out of the unwieldy

Overview

A woman's lover seems not to recognize her on the street. A teenage girl accepts a ride from a stranger in a rust-speckled Cadillac. An old man is obsessed by the memory of his innocent childhood intrusion on a half-dressed aunt.

In forty-four very short, very powerful stories, Joyce Carol Oates fashions brief, intensely compact dramas out of the unwieldy material of human experience. The stories in The Assignation are infused with a "radiant intensity," wrote James Atlas in the New York Times Book Review, and they convey the depth and scope of a novel in a few charged pages. The Assignation is an electric display of the talents that make Joyce Carol Oates one of our finest short story writers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 44 short narratives, ``Oates has captured precisely an essential presence and instant in the lives of her characters,'' commented PW. `` Logical as daydreams, with endings similarly as interrupted or unforeseen, these stories reveal a master of the form, writing at her efficient, full-tilt best .'' (Sept.)
Library Journal
From the ever-prolific Oates comes a collection of very short stories of sad romance. Her characters, thoughtful and disturbed, are familiar figures to her fans, and even some of the very brief stories flash and sparkle. Too often, however, this collection seems to consist of literary exercises and cast-offs from would-be novels, fragments without a story to bind them together. Emotional, sexy, and bleak, these snippets tantalize but rarely amount to much. For comprehensive collections. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780880014403
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/1996
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)

Read an Excerpt

One Flesh

They are sitting at opposite ends of the old horsehair sofa waiting for something to happen. A rainy summer night, or is it a rainy autumn night, smelling of wet leaves. A muffled reedy music permeates the room like remembered music in which rhythm is blurred. One by one enormous soft-winged insects fly toward them, or scuttle above their heads on the ceiling. Several clocks tick in unison, sounding like a single clock.

The Assignation. Copyright � by Joyce Oates. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She 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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Princeton, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
June 16, 1938
Place of Birth:
Lockport, New York
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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The Assignation 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nearly every story I read of this novel was magnificent.