Joyce Carol Oates is a distinguished, award-winning author and critic. She has written over 20 previous books, including Black Water, On Boxing and Because it is Bitter and Because it is my Heart, now recognised as American classics. Recently, she has written 'Man Crazy' (1998) and 'Broken Heart Blues' (1999). In 2000, her latest novel 'Blonde' was short listed for the National Book Award.
Oates long ago established herself as the nation's literary Weegee, prowling the mean streets of the American mind and returning with gloriously lurid takes on our midnight obsessions. If she has left a stone in the shared unconscious unturned, she turns it here in this collection of 24 wide-ranging stories. As the subtitle suggests, the book's preoccupation is sin, but otherwise the stories are richly various. They range from quiet, intimate talesDsuch as the chilling opening effort, "Au Sable," about a man let in on a suicide he cannot preventDto the satiric fantasia on TV journalism and police brutality that closes the volume, "*In COPLAND*." Indeed, the stories (and there are enough here for two if not three volumes) are loosely grouped into three untitled sections, respectively focused on individual obsession, family and notorious recent crimes. Throughout, sex often seems the innocent engine of our sins. In the title story, which opens the second section, sexual infidelity is offered as a coverup for a much deeper faithlessness, and in "What Then, My Life?" a successful woman asks whether her life would have been as meaningful and successful if the sexual assault that marked her youth had not occurred. But it is the stories of the final section that will probably attract the most attention. These tales echo the headlinesDthe Menendez brothers, Columbine, Abner LouimaDbut do so with great imagination and unexpected humor. Some may see the collection's virtue, its great variety, as its vice, judging it a miscellany of sketches and treatments written quickly during off hours. But few if any authors share Oates's phenomenal range, and few know our dark but shimmering secrets so well. (Mar. 3) Forecast: Post-Blonde, Oates is flying high. The stories may be a hard sell, particularly with so many Oates novels on the shelves, but strong reviews and lingering Blonde effervescence could translate into decent salesDand of course this should remain a perennial backlist item. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
'Joyce Carol Oates is a writer who always takes your breath away.' Julie Myerson, Mail on Sunday 'Faithless: Tales of Transgression makes its brisk incisions into the themes of terror, female passion, collapsing male identity, loneliness, divorce, revenge ...Again and again [Oates] finds new language to describe the immensity of desire...She twists back against our assumptions, seeking always the gristly pop of revelation.' New York Times Book Review 'Oates is a massive literary heavyweight, and many earnestly believe she could knock the other contenders for the title of Great American Novelist - Updike, Roth, Wolfe, Mailer.' Helen Falconer, Guardian 'Oates is an inspired writer, and a formidable psychologist. She has a thrilling way of grasping an emotion, wasting no time in judicious rumination but launching herself straight at the aching heart of the matter.' Independent 'Oates's precise and inspired writing is close to witchcraft.' Jeanne Moreau 'Novelists such as John Updike, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer slug it out for the title of the Great American Novelist. But maybe they're wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.' The Herald
Hero of the Prix Goncourt-winning The Abyssinian, Jean-Baptiste Poncet has even more adventures this time around. He rescues a friend in the Urals, endures slavery in Afghanistan, and then rushes back to Isfahan to save his wife when the city is besieged. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.