Synopses & Reviews
“Oates is a fearless writer.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Oates is a master of the dark tale—stories of the hunted and the hunter, of violence, trauma, and deep psychic wounds.”
—Booklist (starred review)
Sourland is a gripping, haunting, and intensely moving collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, one of Americas preeminent authors. Unforgettable tales that re-imagine the meaning of loss—often through violent means—Sourland is yet another extraordinary read from the literary icon who has previously brought us The Gravediggers Daughter, Blonde, We Were the Mulvaneys, and numerous other classic works of contemporary fiction.
“Oatess fiction has the curious, morbid draw of a flaming car wreck. Its a testament to Oatess talent that she can nearly always force the reader to look.” Publishers Weekly
“We think of Oates, like Poe, as a master of terror, but her real mastery is in almost never depicting a strong emotion in isolation...Oates makes for a caustic companion in Sourland - a fearless experimenter forcing the reader ahead of her at knifepoint.” Los Angeles Times
“Making sense of life in a cataclysmic inner and outer landscape has been Joyce Carol Oates obsession for five decades. This evocative new collection shows just how much sense she can make of it now.” Chicago Tribune
“...Vivid...the work reflects a delicious boundary-crossing mix of literary artistry and genre-writing skill...This famously prolific writer continues to surprise us, and that in itself is something to celebrate.” Library Journal
“A master class in the art of pure, suspenseful storytelling...Oates is a dangerous writer in the best sense of the word, one who takes risks almost obsessively with energy and relish… [a] dazzling collection.” New York Times
“Oates is just a fearless writer. . . with her brave heart and her impossibly lush and dead-on imaginative powers.” Los Angeles Times
“Oates remains . . . a living master of the short story-far more virtuosic in manner than the ecstatic realist she is usually taken to be and far more at home in the form, too.” Buffalo News
“...Innovative, brilliant...there are sentences that leave a deeply sensuous pleasure in their wake...” San Francisco Chronicle
Joyce Carol Oates is not only one of our most important novelists and literary critics, she is also an unparalleled master of the short story. Sourland
—sixteen previously uncollected stories that explore the power of violence, loss, and grief to shape the psyche as well as the soul—shows us an author working at the height of her powers.
With lapidary precision and an unflinching eye, Oates maps the surprising contours of “ordinary” life, from a desperate man who dons a jack-o'-lantern head as a prelude to a most curious sort of courtship to a beguiling young woman librarian whose amputee state attracts a married man and father; from a girl hopelessly in love with her renegade, incarcerated cousin to the concluding title story of an unexpectedly redemptive love rooted in radical aloneness and isolation. Each story in Sourland resonates beautifully with Oates's trademark fascination for the unpredictable amid the prosaic—the commingling of sexual love and violence, the tumult of family life—and shines with her predilection for dark humor and her gift for voice.
About the Author
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, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. 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.