CARTHAGE by Joyce Carol Oates

CARTHAGE is quintessential Oates. It is stylistically similar to many of her other books with the utilization of parentheses, repetitions and italics to make the reader take note of what is important and remind us of what has transpired previously. The book is good but it is not Oates’ best.

February 28, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York

THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011 edited by Geraldine Brooks

This year’s editor of THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011 is Geraldine Brooks, an accomplished journalist and fiction writer. She says of her selections “that the easiest and the first choices were the stories to which I had a physical response.” I would agree that the best stories in this collection are those that are most visceral and physical in nature. Ms. Brooks also states that “In the end, the stories I fell upon with perhaps the greatest delight were the outliers, the handful or so that defied the overwhelming gravitational pull toward small-canvas contemporary realism.”

October 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Short Stories

A WIDOW’S STORY by Joyce Carol Oates

This is perhaps the bravest book I’ve ever read. It is searingly personal, raw and and stark. It portrays its creator, the author, in a relief, almost without exception, that is equally painful and tragic. There is no turning away, no place the writer hides–and consequently little relief afforded the reader. There she is, the new widow, Joyce Carol Smith–the persona behind the writer Joyce Carol Oates–struggling to stay alive amidst blinding grief, as revealed in a journey the destination of which is unsure.

February 15, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Non-fiction, y Award Winning Author

GIVE ME YOUR HEART by Joyce Carol Oates

GIVE ME YOUR HEART, the newest collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, shimmers with violence, actual or imagined. Reading these stories is like hearing footsteps in your home when you know you’re the only one there. They’re like seeing something impossible out of the corner of your eye and being sure that you’ve seen it no matter what your rational self tells you. The stories make your heart race and your eyes open wide in horror. They do not come to us gently. Joyce Carol Oates grabs the reader and pulls him into her unique vision where fear, panic, tension, death, love and murder prevail, often simultaneously. These are horror stories without any element of the super-natural. She’s the real McCoy of this genre.

January 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · 2 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Horror, Psychological Suspense, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author

A FAIR MAIDEN by Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the greatest and most prolific writers working today. She is the winner of the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and more awards than can be fit into this short review. Her recent short novel, A FAIR MAIDEN, is one of her more minor works. Though I call it minor, it is by Joyce Carol Oates and, by any standard, that makes it major.

January 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, y Award Winning Author

SOURLAND by Joyce Carol Oates

Here’s how I ended up reading one of these stories in SOURLAND: Standing up – stepping away from it, yelling (sort of) at JCO for being a freak, wishing I was half as good a freak, sputtering inside my head, “Oh yes, this must be exactly what a four-year-old child feels/thinks/is afraid of!” Then, just, oh. She did not. She did that in the end? No way. She did do that. If she was here right now, I’d … let her tell me a thing or two.

Is there anyone literate in the United States of America who has not read a little Joyce Carol Oates? She’s a Master. She’s living. Read her. End of report.

October 14, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, y Award Winning Author