On Sale: September 14, 2010
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A gripping and moving new collection of stories that
reimagines the meaning of lossâ€”through often unexpected and
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. Sourlandâ€”sixteen previously
uncollected stories that explore how the power of violence,
loss, and grief shape both the psyche and the soulâ€”shows us
an author work-ing at the height of her powers.
With lapidary precision and an unflinching eye, Oates maps
the surprising contours of â€śordinaryâ€ť life. From a desperate
man who dons a jack-oâ€™-lantern head as a prelude to a most
curious sort of courtship, to a â€śstory of a stabbingâ€ť many
times recounted in the life of a lonely girl; from a
beguiling young woman librarian whose amputee state attracts
a married man and father, to a girl hopelessly in love with
her renegade, incarcerated cousin; from a professorâ€™s wife
who finds herself tragically isolated at a party in her own
house, to the concluding title story of an unexpectedly
redemptive love rooted in radical aloneness and isolation,
each story in Sourland resonates beautifully with Oatesâ€™s
trademark fascination for the unpredictable amid the
prosaicâ€”the comming-ling of sexual love and violence, the
tumult of family lifeâ€”and shines with her predilection for
dark humor and her gift for voice.
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