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Andi

I haven't read any of Oates' short stories, but her novella, Beasts, is one of my favorite books of all time. She certainly is dark, and I love her keen ability to create a tangible and unsettling atmosphere in her writing. A friend of mine who's getting his PhD at Purdue got to hear her speak last semester, and he was kind enough to send a signed copy of Beasts along to me. It's got a special place on the shelves. :)

I'll have to give the story a go!

Danielle

Andi--She does do unsettling well. I'm going to have to read more of her work! Lucky you to have a signed copy of one of her books! This story is also available online, and it isn't terribly long!

BooksPlease

I've read just a few of Oates' books. I enjoyed 'Middle Age' the most, and thought 'The Falls' was good, but overlong. I started to read 'The Female of the Species', a collection of short stories, but I just couldn't finish the first one, it was too disturbing.

Thanks for the online link - I'll have a look.

Dorothy W.

I like this story -- I've taught in my intro to literature classes a few times. It IS creepy, isn't it? We talk a lot about the character development -- Connie's relationship to her family -- and also the very strange nature of Arnold Friend -- is he the devil? And also the cultural background -- all the movies and music she's got in her head and how they influence her. There's lots of stuff to work with here!

Danielle

BooksPlease--She's written so much, it's hard to know where to start. I'm not surprised the book of stories was disturbing (the first one anyway). I got a sense of that style in this story. I am curious about her other books, though, so will have to look around for something else to read by her.
Dorothy--This would be a great story to read in a group and discuss--there is a lot there and I wasn't even sure how to write about it. I read about Arnold Friend and the idea of his character representing the devil (and somewhere someone had noted that you remove the R's his name changes to An old fiend). And it was interesting how both she and Arnold were tuned into the same music station listening to the same show. I always try and find some sort of criticism after I read certain books and will have to see what I can find for this story. I think this anthology will have lots of stories like this--with lots to think about.

Litlove

I've only ever read 'Beasts' by Joyce Carol Oates, but I liked it a lot and have always wanted to read more of her work. I've just ordered a novel of hers called 'Mother, Missing' for obvious reasons and I'm looking forward to it very much. This short story sounds wonderful, Danielle!

Danielle

Litlove--You're the second person to have mentioned Beasts--I'm going to have to look for that one! I wonder what spin she'll put on Mother, Missing--I look forward to when you write about it!

Sarah

I've only read the The Female of the Species by Joyce Carol Oates. It's a very dark collection of sort stories which I enjoyed in a creepy, disturbing sort of way.

Thanks for the link to this short story, I'm off to read it now.

Danielle

Sarah--It's nice when short stories can be found online! I will have to check out more of her short stories. I wonder if her novels are dark and disturbing as well? I sort of find this type of fiction appealing for some weird reason!

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