Synopses & Reviews
I Am No One You Know
contains nineteen startling stories that bear witness to the remarkably varied lives of Americans of our time. In "Fire," a troubled young wife discovers a rare, radiant happiness in an adulterous relationship. In "Curly Red," a girl makes a decision to reveal a family secret, and changes her life irrevocably. In "The Girl with the Blackened Eye," selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2001
, a girl pushed to an even greater extreme of courage and desperation manages to survive her abduction by a serial killer. And in "Three Girls," two adventuresome NYU undergraduates seal their secret love by following, and protecting, Marilyn Monroe in disguise at Strand Used Books on a snowy evening in 1956.
These vividly rendered portraits of women, men, and children testify to Oates's compassion for the mysterious and luminous resources of the human spirit.
"In Oates's precise psychological renderings, victims are as complex as villains and almost always more interesting....[E]ven the strangest events in this sure-footed collection are painfully familiar." Publishers Weekly
"Her new searing short stories explore the malevolent aspects of human sexuality with unflinching authenticity and a cathartic fascination." Booklist
"More of the same, from the most frustratingly uneven writer in the business....[T]he usual disjointed gathering of carefully composed and inexplicably slipshod work....Vintage Oates and very much an acquired taste." Kirkus Reviews
"Oates demonstrates her continued ability to create edgy stories that are still grounded in reality. She immerses the reader in disturbing dilemmas and then resolves them in unexpected ways." Library Journal
"Joyce Carol Oates has done it again. Her newest collection...contains all the typical elements of her previous fiction...and that deceivingly simple and matter-of-fact presentation that keeps many readers turning pages." Philadelphia Inquirer
"[F]illed with stories that perfectly represent America's warped and undying fascination/repulsion with acts of violence and sex. In a single volume of stories of less than 300 pages, Oates says more about the human condition than most authors can communicate in a lifetime." Denver Post
"[Oates] explores the criminal mind with obvious fascination....These latest aren't exactly happy stories, but if they were, they wouldn't be so interesting." The Los Angeles Times
"These new stories...are so jaggedly open-ended, they give off an air of incompletion....[T]oo reminiscent of Oates' past work, with neo-Gothic filaments that are frayed from overuse." Miami Herald
"[Oates's] overreaching and kaleidoscopic talent embraces the American scene and its populace. The stories in this collection are a pastiche of the themes, style and versatility of subject that has marked her career as a writer." BookReporter
Oates's new collection contains 19 startling stories that bear witness to the remarkably varied lives of Americans in our time.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates, a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University. She lives in New Jersey. She was the 2003 recipient of the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature and the 2003 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.