Information about the author.
“A lush-bodied girl in the prime of her physical beauty. In an ivory georgette crepe sundress with a halter top that gathers her breasts up in soft undulating folds of the fabric. She’s standing with bare legs apart on a New York subway grating. Her blond head is thrown rapturously back as an updraft lifts her full, flaring skirt, exposing white cotton panties. White cotton! The ivory-crepe sundress is floating and filmy as magic. The dress is magic. Without the dress the girl would be female meat, raw and exposed.”
She was an all-American girl who became a legend of unparalleled stature. She inspired the adoration of millions, and her life has beguiled generations of fans and fellow artists. The story of Norma Jeane Baker better known by her studio name “Marilyn Monroe”—has been dissected for more than three decades, but never has it been captured in a narrative as breathtaking and transforming as Blonde.
At forty-two, Jerome Corcoran—“Corky” to his friends and associates—is by all appearances a successful real estate developer and broker, a city councilman with a promising future in local politics, a genuine ladies’ man, and all-around great guy. His big house, fifteen-hundred-dollar suits, and the ridiculously large tips he hands out all over town reassure him that he’s put plenty of distance between himself and the family history (which includes a murdered father and raving mad mother) he’d rather forget. Corky may think that his inauspicious beginnings on Irish Hill, one of Union City’s shabbier neighborhoods, are now far behind him, but over the course of Memorial Day Weekend 1992, that precious illusion, along with several others, will be completely shattered. In the long list of Corky’s women, only one looms larger for him than his own appetites and self-interest: Thalia, his rebellious, radicalized step-daughter from his failed marriage. It is she who will become the agent of his undoing as a complex drama of corruption, blackmail, and political scandal climaxes in an act of explosive violence.
Joyce Carol Oates has taken a shocking story that has become an American myth and, from it, has created a novel of electrifying power and illumination.
Kelly Kelleher is an idealistic, twenty-six-year-old “good girl” when she meets the Senator at a Fourth of July party. In a brilliantly woven narrative, we enter her past and her present, her mind and her body as she is fatally attracted to this older man, this hero, this soon-to-be-lover. Kelly becomes the very embodiment of the vulnerable, romantic dreams of bight and brave women, drawn to the power that certain men command—at a party that takes on the quality of a surreal nightmare; in a tragic care ride that we hope against hope will not end as we know it must end.
One of the acknowleged masters of American fiction, Joyce Carol Oates has written a bold tour de force that parts the black water to reveal the profoundest depths of human truth.
“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.
An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense.
“The Corn Maiden” is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Taken by an older girl from her school who has told two friends in her thrall of the Indian legend of the Corn Maiden, in which a girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop, Marissa is kept in a secluded basement and convinced that the world has ended. Marissa’s seemingly inevitable fate becomes ever more terrifying as the older girl relishes her power, giving the tale unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion. In “Helping Hands,” published here for the first time, a lonely woman meets a man in the unlikely clutter of a dingy charity shop and extends friendship. She has no idea what kinds of doors she may be opening.…[more]
Unflinching and unforgettable, devastating in its impact, Joyce Carol Oate’s fictional journey into the mind of paroled sex offender Quentin P. provides a psychologically astute portrait of the way cold calculation and dark obsession combine in a serial killer.
A novel about class, race, and the horrific, glassy sparkle of urban life, them chronicles the lives of the Wendalls, a family on the steep edge of poverty in the windy, riotous Detroit slums. Loretta, beautiful and dreamy and full of regret by age sixteen, and her two children, Maureen and Jules, make up Oates’ vision of the American family—broken, marginal, and romantically proud. The novel’s title, pointedly uncapitalized, refers to those Americans who inhabit the outskirts of society—men and women, mothers and children—whose lives many authors in the 1960s had left unexamined. Alfred Kazin called her subject “the sheer rich chaos of American life.” The Nation wrote, “When Miss Oates’ potent, life-gripping imagination and her skill at narrative are conjoined, as they are preeminently in them, she is a prodigious writer.”
Joyce Carol Oates returns with a dark, romantic, and captivating tale, set in the Great Lakes region of upstate New York—the territory of her remarkably successful New York Times bestseller The Gravedigger’s Daughter.
Set in the mythical small city of Sparta, New York, this searing, vividly rendered exploration of the mysterious conjunction of erotic romance and tragic violence in late-twentieth-century America returns to the emotional and geographical terrain of acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates’s previous bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and The Gravedigger’s Daughter.
When a young wife and mother named Zoe Kruller is found brutally murdered, the Sparta police target two primary suspects, her estranged husband, Delray Kruller, and her longtime lover, Eddy Diehl. In turn, the Krullers’ son, Aaron, and Eddy Diehl’s daughter, Krista, become obsessed with each other, each believing the other’s father is guilty. …[more]
In 1936 the Schwarts, an immigrant family desperate to escape Nazi Germany, settle in a small town in upstate New York, where the father, a former high school teacher, is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. After local prejudice and the family’s own emotional frailty result in unspeakable tragedy, the gravedigger’s daughter, Rebecca, begins her astonishing pilgrimage into America, an odyssey of erotic risk and imaginative daring, ingenious self-invention, and, in the end, a bittersweet—but very “American”—triumph. “You are born here, they will not hurt you”—so the gravedigger has predicted for his daughter, which will turn out to be true.
In The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Oates has created a masterpiece of domestic yet mythic realism, at once emotionally engaging and intellectually provocative: an intimately observed testimony to the resilience of the individual to set beside such predecessors as The Falls, Blonde, and We Were the Mulvaneys.
On New Year’s Day, 1973, Joyce Carol Oates began keeping a journal that she maintains to this present day. When the journals began, 34–year–old Oates was already a recipient of the National Book Award (1969), with many O. Henry awards, and others, under her literary belt. For all her warm critical reception, however, the author had been (and would remain) fairly reticent about the personal details of her life and background.
Housed in her archive at Syracuse University, the journals run to more than 5,000 single–spaced typewritten pages. This volume focuses on excerpts from that first decade, 1973–1983, one of the most productive of Oates’s long career. Far more than a daily account of her writing life, the journals offer a candid discussion of Oates’ many friendships with other well–known writers—Philip Roth, Anne Sexton, John Updike, and many others; she describes her teaching, her relationship to the natural world, her family, her vast reading, her critics, her travels, and other topics central to her life during this time.
When her mother uncharacteristically fails to return her phone calls, 31-year-old Nikki Eaton calls in to check up on her. She finds the house turned upside-down, and her mother lying dead, murdered, on the garage floor.
Single, sexually liberated and economically self-supporting, Nikki has never particularly thought of herself as a daughter. She learns to cope with the unexpected loss of her mother over the course of a tumultuous year of mourning that brings sorrow, and even, from an unexpected source, a nurturing love.
This is a candid, engaging and personal novel about mothers and daughters from one of the greatest American novelists alive today.
Matt Donaghy has always been a Big Mouth, but it’s never gotten him in trouble - until one day when two detectives escort him out of class for questioning. Matt has been accused of threatening to blow up Rocky River High School.
Ursula Riggs has always been an Ugly Girl. A loner with fierce, staring eyes, Ursula has no time for petty high school stuff like friends and dating—or at least that’s what she tells herself. Ursula is content with minding her own business. And she doesn’t even really know Matt Donaghy.
But Ursula is the only person who knows what Matt really said that day…and she is the only one who can help him.
In her first novel for young adults, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates has created a provocative and unflinching story of friendship and family, and of loyalty and betrayal.
One of American’s foremost authors ventures into dark, uncharted territories of the human psyche in a collection of stories that rival the work of Edgar Allan Poe. Oates is the 1994 recipient of the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement given by the Horror Writers of America.
Joyce Carol Oates adds to her extraordinary body of work with this stunning novel of violence and love. At the heart of the story are two people, Iris Courtney, who is white, and handsome Jinx Fairchild, the black basketball player who, in protecting Iris, kills a white man.
Iris is the only witness to the crime.
The two of them are growing up in the early 1950s in a New York industrial town where racial boundaries keep people apart - or bring them together in explosive scenes of fear or desire. The secret link between Iris and Jinx is not only their attraction to each other, but a murder…and a bond of passion and guilt is formed between them. How this one irrevocable, tragic act shapes their lives and alters their destinies becomes Joyce Carol Oate’s finest, emotion-packed novel—a work the critics are calling a masterpiece, the best work of America’s best writer of contemporary realism.
Joyce Carol Oates’s epic novel of an American family in the 1950’s probes the tender division between the permissible and the forbidden, between ordinary life and the secret places of the heart. Set in an industrial, working-class town in upstate New York, this book chronicles the frustrating marriage of parents Lyle and Hannah; the idealistic political journey of son Warren, and the passionate, obsessive relationship that develops between 15-year-old Enid Maria and her uncle Felix, a professional boxer twice her age. While brilliantly re-creating a decade that worshipped conformity, You Must Remember This presents the lives of family members that break every convention in the search for meaning and fulfillment.
A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythical Lake Noir. Written with a voluptuousness and immediacy unusual even for Oates, Bellefleur was hailed upon publication as the culmination of her work.