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The Accursed

The Accursed, March 2013
by Joyce Carol Oates

688 pages
ISBN: 0062231707
EAN: 9780062231703
Kindle: B0089LOG2A
Hardcover / e-Book
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"A delectably gothic and supernatural tale of early twentieth century Princeton, New Jersey."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Accursed
Joyce Carol Oates

Reviewed by Amber Keller
Posted December 5, 2013

Paranormal | Fiction Family Life

In Princeton, New Jersey at the turn of the twentieth century, things are not as they seem. Back in the Pine Barrens that border Princeton, an evil lives, its world vast and terrifying. As a curse falls on the elite families of the town, their daughters begin to disappear. When a young bride is seduced before she can wed and taken by a strange shape-shifting prince, the curse spreads. Her brother sets out to find her and finds himself stumbling upon such historical figures as Grover Cleveland and Upton Sinclair during his pursuit.

Ms. Oates' indelible, immaculate yet restrained and simplistic prose fills this book from start to finish, leaving her signature style blazing in its wake. The use of the particular narrator who had lived through this harrowing time was brilliant and served to separate the distinction between author and character well. THE ACCURSED fits nicely in the gothic genre. This is a complex story with many lines and characters, but if you can keep up with it all, you will be richly rewarded.

Learn more about The Accursed


A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation)—an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man–a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.

When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain–all plagued by "accursed" visions.

An utterly fresh work from Oates, The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful writer. Narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling supernatural elements to stunning effect.

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