The Accursed: Book summary and reviews of The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates

The Accursed

By Joyce Carol Oates

The Accursed
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013,
    688 pages.

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Book Summary

This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University.

On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel 'The Jungle', has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community - elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated - until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared.

The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful Joyce Carol Oates - narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling fantastical elements to stunning effect.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Take on this 700-page behemoth with an open mind, and hang on for the ride." - Publishers Weekly "

"Starred Review. Oates brings her nightshade humor and extraordinary fluency in eroticism and violence, American history and literature (her magnetizing characters include Mark Twain, Jack London, and Upton Sinclair) to this piercing novel of the devastating toll of repression and prejudice, sexism and class warfare. A diabolically enthralling and subversive literary mash-up." - Booklist

"Though the mix of genres might be too rich for some readers and the happy ending too manufactured for others, this is a smart and relentlessly absorbing read." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Carefully and densely plotted, chockablock with twists and turns and fleeting characters, her novel offers a satisfying modern rejoinder to the best of M.R. James--and perhaps even Henry James. Though it requires some work and has a wintry feel to it, it's oddly entertaining, as a good supernatural yarn should be." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award. 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. In 2003 she received the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.

Partial Bibliography
Memoir
A Widow's Story (2011)


Novels
With Shuddering Fall (1964)
Wonderland (1971)
Do with Me What You Will (1973)
Miracle Play (1974)
The ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview

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