Black Dahlia & White Rose

Black Dahlia & White Rose

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by Joyce Carol Oates

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“A mesmerizing storyteller who seems almost unnaturally able to enter the tormented inner lives of her characters.”
Denver Post

Black Dahlia & White Rose is a brilliant collection of short fiction from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates, one of the most

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“A mesmerizing storyteller who seems almost unnaturally able to enter the tormented inner lives of her characters.”
Denver Post

Black Dahlia & White Rose is a brilliant collection of short fiction from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates, one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.  These stores, at once lyrical and unsettling, shine with the author’s trademark fascination with finding the unpredictable amidst the prosaic—from her imaginative recreation of  friendship between two tragically doomed young women (Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Short), to the tale of an infidelity as deeply human as it is otherworldly. Black Dahlia & White Rose is a major offering from one of the most important artists in contemporary American literature; a superb collection that showcases Joyce Carol Oates’s ferocious energy and darkly imaginative storytelling power.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The new short story collection from the prolific Oates (after the novel Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You) contains sinister and charged moments tempered by humor and masterful storytelling. The title tale blends fact and fiction and narrates the intertwining lives of two young women in 1940s Hollywood, roommates whose lives diverge as one becomes an internationally acclaimed actress (Marilyn Monroe), and the other (Elizabeth Short) the victim of a gruesome, unsolved murder case. In "Deceit," a woman must face school authorities to explain the fresh bruises on her daughter's body, and in "Run Kiss Daddy," a man is given a second chance at life with a "beautiful new family small and vulnerable as a mouse cupped trembling in the hand," but is confronted by old ghosts when he takes them to a favorite vacation spot and unearths something morbid. Unsettling, potent, and suspenseful, these well-crafted and haunting stories attest to Oates' superior imagination and mastery of the craft, and provide a welcome addition to her oeuvre. (Sept.)
“[A] masterfully honed collection of dark tales… With precision and force, the ever-mesmerizing Oates rips open the scrim of ordinariness to expose the chaos that undermines every human notion of control, reason, and sanctuary.”
Library Journal
Deluxe author Oates offers a collection of 11 previously uncollected stories, including a title piece that tracks the friendship between Elizabeth Short, famously known as the Black Dahlia, the victim of a markedly brutal murder in 1940s Los Angeles that remains unsolved, and her roommate, Norma Jeane Baker—who of course became Marilyn Monroe. The 25,000-copy first printing seems a bit low.
Kirkus Reviews
Another gallery of grotesquerie from the staggeringly prolific Oates. This latest collection of Oates' previously published short stories (the sheer range of venues, from Playboy to Ellery Queen, The New Yorker to video game-inspired e-fiction is an indication of her vast reach) showcases her talent for imbuing mundane events with menace and the kind of irony that springs from narrow brushes with disaster. Thus, in the title story, the depraved serial killer of a Hollywood pinup model known as Black Dahlia could, but for circumstance, just as easily have targeted the starlet who would become Marilyn Monroe. Protagonists are drawn, with equal authority, from the underclass and the self-satisfied professional class. In "I.D.," a pre-adolescent whose single mother has left her alone for days desperately clings to normalcy even as she's being called out of class, possibly to identify her mother's body. In two stories, "Roma!" and "Spotted Hyenas: A Romance," middle-aged women married to prominent, uncommunicative men act out in diverse ways, from a frightening foray down Rome's back alleys to a walk on the wild side as a were-hyena. ("A Brutal Murder in a Public Place" is a more contrived attempt at human/animal identification.) Narrators can be so subtly unreliable as to force readers to question their own perceptions. In "Deceit," a mother summoned to discuss her child's possible abuse may be the perpetrator--her memory has been ravaged by anti-anxiety meds. The divorced father in "Run Kiss Daddy," attempting to start again with a new family in a favorite vacation spot, uncovers evidence of a long-ago crime that could be his own. A young woman who finds a wallet on a train injects herself capriciously and dangerously into a family of strangers. The linked stories "San Quentin" and "Anniversary" cover the excruciating discomfort--and unmistakable voyeurism--of well-meaning individuals teaching in maximum security prisons. Although her material can be macabre, mawkish and deeply unsettling, Oates' hypnotic prose ensures that readers will be unable to look away.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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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. 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

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

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Black Dahlia & White Rose 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black Dalia & White Roses is an intriguing collection that not only tells stories, but make us ponder them and hold our breaths as we turn every page. Boundaries are made invisible, ideas are tested, stereotypes are rendered meaningless and the wideness of man's soul is revealed. A friend suggested I read this story and The Shades of Fire; and henceforth, I will start taking his choices seriously, especially of short stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One star for effort, but I had no idea what I was reading! I consider myself very well-read, but this story started off bizarre and schizophrenic. For a really good book by this author I recommend THE FALLS. I gave that one 5 stars.