Synopses & Reviews
I Am No One You Know
contains nineteen startling tales 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 in 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.
"Joyce Carol Oates continues to chronicle this culture's abiding fascination with violence in I Am No One You Know, her latest collection of stories, yet each story approaches the subject in such inventively variegated ways and through such multifarious characters that the reader sees something unique each time. The delineation of character in her stories is so intense, so intimate, and so accurate that you forget you're reading a fiction. Full of electric language, careening with life and vitality, here are stories with all the weight of existence, stories of the ways in which we fail even in our successes, stories that offer, ultimately, the deepest human consolation." Tin House magazine
"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 are small, hard gems, full of the same rich emotion and startling observation that readers of Oates's fiction have come to expect." John Schwartz, New York Times Book Review
"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
Readers will find "small, hard gems" (New York Times Book Review) in this new collection of short stories from bestselling and award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award
and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction
. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys
, which was nominated for the National Book Award. 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. In 2003 she received the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature and the Kenyon Review
Award for Literary Achievement.