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. 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.
"Marvelous. Oates is a giant among us, as prolific as the worst of the writers who produce dreck and turn it into cash, but thoroughly wonderful and important." -- NPR Books "Where Balzac wanted to give his readers Paris in its entirety, Joyce Carol Oates has dared to give her readers an entire country, our own... [A] collection as alive and as enlivening as any of the earlier volumes in Oates's already distinguished body of work." -- NPR Books "Oates, one of few writers who achieves excellence in both the novel and the short story, has more than two dozen story collections to her name and she continues to inject new, ambushing power into the form... Oates' stories seethe and blaze." -- Booklist "As unsympathetic as many of Oates' mordant and quasi-anonymous characters may appear at first, en masse their fears and anxieties in the face of death and decline epitomize universal recognition of hard facts: We're all in this together, and nobody gets out alive." -- Kirkus Reviews "Here Oates is at her empathetic best." -- Boston Globe "Oates, a master at work for five decades, is an American literary institution. Surely no collection of short stories, no matter how wonderful or terrible, could break her legacy now. The fact is that this is an excellent collection of short fiction in its own right." -- Bookreporter.com As the interloping fiancee of "Patricide" says of her deceased lover, the Philip Roth-esque Roland Marks, 'He knew women really well-you could say, the masochistic inner selves of women.' We might well say the same of Oates, with the same complimentary awe." -- Publishers Weekly "A master cartographer of inner landscapes, the prolific Oates returns with a virtuosic collection that moves fluently across a range of characters, settings, and moods. In these 13 stories, she opts for a looser, more expressionistic palette as she gazes grimly, gorgeously, into the crucible of mortality." -- O, the Oprah Magazine "[Thirteen] stories, structured into four sections, have a range of subjects and points of view while at the same time probing the innate insecurity in the lives of ordinary people... For readers who are already familiar with Oates, this book will not disappoint." -- Kansas City Star "Insightful, disturbing and mesmerizing in their lyrical precision, the stories in the book display Joyce Carol Oates' astonishing ability to make visceral the fear, hurt and uncertainty that lurks at the edges of ordinary lives." -- Spartanburg Herald Journal "With every new book... [Oates] proves anew that she is perhaps our greatest contemporary American writer." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune "The unity of Oates' stories in this collection resides in their confrontation with aging and death, with the various ways life winds down and ends, and with the darker side of our human nature." -- Roanoke Times