Praise for Pursuit:
A Kirkus Reviews “13 Scariest Book Written This Year”
“[Oates] consistently reveals to us what we don’t want to believethat the calls are always coming from inside the house, and the dangers lurking inside the walls of home are more dangerous than the “other” we are trying to demonize and keep out.”Criminal Element
“Oates reinforces her place as the grand mistress of ghoulishness.”Publishers Weekly
“[A]n intriguing novel that is definitely worth reading, especially if you are a fan of this legendary, award-winning author.”Bookreporter
“Oates is in full domestic gothic mode…A compelling domestic horror story reaches into a young woman's nightmares of her childhood in search of what's real.”Kirkus
“Staccato pacing and Oates’ deftly malevolent yet nuanced characterizations contribute to this fast-paced examination of the destructive and restorative nature of obsessive love.”Booklist
“Oates in white-knuckling mode.”Library Journal
“Turn on the lights and crack open this suspenseful book that's coming out just in time for Halloween.”Good Housekeeping
Praise for Joyce Carol Oates:
"[A] cutting edge collection...full of rare, believable scenarios that can make the heart race or cause us to ponder our own mortality...Night Gaunts is like a paranoid daydream, yet one where it is satisfying to know that you can awaken with a sounder mind than before it began."Bookreporter, on Night-Gaunts
"Consummately well-written, stylistically dashing...forthrightly nightmarish"Kirkus Reviews, on Night-Gaunts
"Oates’ spookiness is visceral, psychologically involving, and socially astute."Booklist, on Night-Gaunts
“Few writers better illuminate the mind’s most disturbing corners.”Seattle Times, “The 10 best mysteries of 2015,” on Jack of Spades
“Oates’s brand of horror has never required the invocation of other worlds: This world is terrible enough for her. Everything she writes, in whatever genre, has an air of dread, because she deals in vulnerabilities and inevitabilities, in the desperate needs that drive people . . . to their fates. A sense of helplessness is the essence of horror, and Oates conveys that feeling as well as any writer around.”New York Times Book Review, on The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror
“Does any writer around do literary creepy like Joyce Carol Oates? . . . The stories always have an undercurrent of menace poised to break through at any moment.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror
“A dazzling, disturbing tour de force of Gothic suspense.”Boston Globe, on Evil Eye
“This writer is extraordinary not because she produces such huge amount, but because what she produces is so consistently good. And short stories show her invention, economy and control at its best . . . Oates perfectly captures the atmosphere of fear and well-meaning misunderstanding.”Times (UK), on High Crime Area
“Oates creates worlds and minds as overwrought and paranoid as anything a female Poe could imagine, then sprinkles her trademark exclamation points licentiously through the interior monologues to heighten the intimacy between ecstasy and madness.”Kirkus Reviews, on DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense
Billed as a novel of suspense, this creepy thriller from Oates (My Life as a Rat) reads more like an extended short story. Abby Zengler lies in the ICU of a New Jersey hospital after accidentally stepping in front of a bus—or was it an accident? Willem, Abby’s husband of less than a day, is at her bedside, stunned at the swiftness with which their happiness has turned to horror. The couple’s misfortune serves as the frame around an infinitely darker and more disturbing composition. The tale within a tale, which Willem ever-so-gradually teases out of his wife, centers on the doomed relationship between Abby’s mother and soldier father, who years before returned from Iraq to their hometown of Chautauqua Falls, N.Y., abusive, paranoid, and irrationally jealous. Though the pair vanished from Abby’s life at age five, the trauma left in their wake remains so emotionally devastating that she can handle only glimpses of what transpired in her nightmares. The reader may well feel the same way. Oates reinforces her place as the grand mistress of ghoulishness. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Oct.)
Before Abby's wedding to Willem, her human bone-strewn childhood nightmares return, and not a day after the big event she plunges wildly into traffic—by accident or intentionally, Willem can't be sure. But as she lies in her hospital bed, he starts uncovering clues that lead to an abusive upbringing of epic proportions.
A young woman is haunted by a past she doesn't understand in this brief but powerful story of domestic violence.
In her latest novel, Oates (My Life as a Rat, 2019, etc.) is in full domestic gothic mode. Like any bride, Abby Hayman is hopeful that she's stepping into a new and happy life. But she has more reason than most to long for transformation. Her parents disappeared when she was 5 years old. After a haphazard upbringing, at 20 she's pulling her life together. She's even put behind her the terrifying nightmares of skeletons hidden in tall grass that tormented her childhood—or so she thinks. Those visions return with a vengeance just before she marries Willem Zengler, a devoutly Christian pre-med student. The day after their wedding, she gets off a bus, then steps in front of it. Was it an accident or a suicide attempt? She's so seriously injured she can't answer the question, spending nine days in a coma and still feeling confused when she awakes. When Willem says, "We need to get to that moment, Abby. When you can tell me what you see," he might be talking about the accident—or about her screaming nightmares. The first part of the book focuses on Abby and her shadowy memories. It intensifies as Oates switches to the points of view of Abby's parents. Her mother married young and raised her baby alone while her husband was serving in the military in Iraq. When he returns, his wife hardly knows him: In the Army "he'd cultivated a cruel use of seemingly ordinary speech, given a mock-Southern inflection. Like a butter knife honed razor-sharp." That cruelty will quickly escalate into PTSD-fueled madness. The book is so submerged in the nightmares that intrude on Abby's life that it's a little shocking to be reminded, by such prosaic items as iPhones and MRIs, that the story takes place in the present, in the real world.
A compelling domestic horror story reaches into a young woman's nightmares of her childhood in search of what's real.