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

The Accursed

by Joyce Carol Oates

The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates X
The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
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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

This information about The Accursed was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Dustin Cohen

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and has been nominated several times 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; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. In 2020 she was awarded the Cino Del Duca World Prize for Literature. She is the Roger S. Berlind '52 Distinguished Professor of the Humanities emerita at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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