Cardiff, by the Sea: Book summary and reviews of Cardiff, by the Sea by Joyce Carol Oates

Cardiff, by the Sea

Four Novellas of Suspense

by Joyce Carol Oates

Cardiff, by the Sea by Joyce Carol Oates X
Cardiff, by the Sea by Joyce Carol Oates
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About this book

Book Summary

From one of the most important contemporary American writers, Cardiff, by the Sea is a bold, haunting collection of four previously unpublished novellas.

In the titular novella, an academic in Pennsylvania discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. Mia, the protagonist of "Miao Dao," is a pubescent girl overcome with loneliness, who befriends a feral cat that becomes her protector from the increasingly aggressive males that surround her.

A brilliant but shy college sophomore realizes that she is pregnant in "Phan-tomwise: 1972." Distraught, she allows a distinguished visiting professor to take her under his wing, though it quickly becomes evident that he is interested in more than an academic mentorship. Lastly, "The Surviving Child" is Stefan, who was spared when his mother, a famous poet, killed his sister and herself. Stefan's father remarries, but his young wife is haunted by dead poet's voice dancing in the wind, an inexplicably befouled well, and a compulsive draw to the same garage that took two lives.

In these psychologically daring, chillingly suspenseful pieces, Joyce Carol Oates writes about women facing threats past and present.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[S]pellbinding...Oates masterfully digs into the turbulent psyches of her characters and makes it ambiguous to the reader how much of the strange worlds they navigate are projections of their own anxieties and longings...This superb outing is sure to captivate." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Family secrets bloom into nightmares in these skillful, chilling stories." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Dustin Cohen

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, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. 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.

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