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Beastsby Joyce Carol Oates
Synopses & Reviews
A young woman tumbles into a nightmare of deadly desire in a superb novella of suspense from National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates. Art and arson, the poetry of D. H. Lawrence and pulp pornography, hero-worship and sexual debasement, totems and taboos — out of narrative elements like these one of the most adroit voices in American fiction devises a startling, suspenseful tale that turns the sunny idyll of New England college campus life into a lurid nightmare.
A bright, talented junior at Catamount College in the druggy 1970s, Gillian Brauer strives to realize more than a poet?s craft in her workshop with the charismatic, rebellious professor Andre Harrow. For Gillian has fallen in love — with Harrow, with his aesthetic sensibility, with his bohemian cottage on Brierly Lane, with the mystique of his majestic, russet-haired wife, Dorcas. A sculptress, Dorcas has outraged the campus and alumnae with the crude, primitive, larger than life-sized wooden totems that she has exhibited under the motto "We are beasts and this is our consolation."
As if mesmerized, Gillian enters the rarefied world of the Harrows. She surrenders to their cassoulets, Quaaludes, and intimacies. She is special, even though she knows her classmates Marisa and Sybil and the exotic Dominique have preceded her here. She is helpless. And she will learn in full the meaning of Dorcas's provocative motto.
"Riveting....It's a quick read at 128 pages but suspenseful and satisfying to the end, with Oates once again displaying her amazing flair for complex and slightly bizarre characters." Library Journal
"Oates shows once again her skill adapting the classic gothic template for the tale of modern psychology." Publishers Weekly
"Compelling." Los Angeles Times
"It's de rigueur to exclaim over Oates' protean output and unwavering excellence, and rightly so....[A] deliciously gothic tale....Oates' control of this smart, steely tale of the baser side of human nature is absolute, as are its dark and scintillating pleasures." Donna Seaman, Booklist
A young woman tumbles into a nightmare of decadent desire and corrupted innocence in a superb novella of suspense from National Book Award–winner Joyce Carol Oates. Art and arson, the poetry of D. H. Lawrence and pulp pornography, hero-worship and sexual debasement, totems and taboos mix and mutate into a startling, suspenseful tale of how a sunny New England college campus descends into a lurid nightmare. "A small gem.... Oates does not disappoint, nor does she waste a word."—The Washington Post Book World Oates often takes on sensational subject matter ... yet rarely has she done so with the churningly quiet understatement of ... Beasts."—Los Angeles Times "A cunning fusion of Gothic romance and psychological horror story, and one of her best recent books."—Kirkus Reviews "Oates's new novel is a slim one, but it packs a serious punch."—Associated Press "Delicious ... Beasts is something of a jeu d'esprit noir.... The novella length is exactly right for it."—The New York Review of Books
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