The sixteen stories of Sourland beautifully resonate with the author's trademark fascination for the unpredictable in the midst of the 'ordinary' - the commingling of sexual love and violence, the tumult of family life, a predilection for dark humor, and a gift for voice. The inhabitants of Sourland are as varied as a desperate man who dons a jack-o-lantern head as a prelude to a most curious sort of courtship, a story of a stabbing many times recounted in the life of a lonely young girl, a beguiling young woman librarian whose amputee state attracts a married man and father, a girl hopelessly in love with her renegade, incarcerated cousin, and a professor's wife who finds herself tragically isolated at the party she is hosting for her beloved husband's colleagues.
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"Oates's fiction has the curious, morbid draw of a flaming car wreck. It's a testament to Oates's talent that she can nearly always force the reader to look." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. This is a trenchant book of 'cruel fairy tales' in which people are severely tested, profoundly punished, and tragically transformed." - Booklist
"When Oates is at her best, the work reflects a delicious boundary-crossing mix of literary artistry and genre-writing skill. The stories that work less well lack the requisite subtlety to transcend the journalistic taint." - Library Journal
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Joyce Carol Oates was
born in Lockport, New York, in 1938 and grew up on the family farm where she developed
a love of literature and writing. She earned a scholarship to Syracuse University
and graduated valedictorian. She then took a masters degree, after which she started
teaching at the University of Detroit where she met her first husband Raymond J
Smith. In the late '60s, they moved to the University of Windsor in Canada, where
they were co-editors of the literary quaterly publication The Ontario Review.
In the late 1970s she took a teaching position at Princeton University where she
is currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities.
She published her first book in 1963, and has published over 40 ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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