Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates

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A young woman tumbles into a nightmare of decadent desire and corrupted innocence in a superb novella of suspense from National Book Award–winner Joyce Carol Oates. Art and arson, the poetry of D. H. Lawrence and pulp pornography, hero-worship and sexual debasement, totems and taboos mix and mutate into a startling, suspenseful tale of how a sunny New England college campus descends into a lurid nightmare. “A small gem.... Oates does not disappoint, nor does she waste a word.”—The Washington Post Book World Oates often takes on sensational subject matter ... yet rarely has she done so with the churningly quiet understatement of ... Beasts.”—Los Angeles Times “A cunning fusion of Gothic romance and psychological horror story, and one of her best recent books.”—Kirkus Reviews “Oates’s new novel is a slim one, but it packs a serious punch.”—Associated Press “Delicious ... Beasts is something of a jeu d’esprit noir.... The novella length is exactly right for it.”—The New York Review of Books

About Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 in Upstate, New York. She attended Syracuse University and graduated as Valedictorian. She then attended University of Wisconsin where she earned an M. A. By the time she was 47 years old, she had published at least that many separate books, including 16 full-length novels and more than a dozen collections of short stories. Some of her works were done under the pseudonym Rosamund Smith. She has also written numerous poems collected in several volumes, at least three plays, many critical essays, and articles and reviews on various subjects while fulfilling her obligations as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, where with her husband Raymond Smith she edited the Ontario Review, which the couple has continued since moving to Princeton in 1978. She has earned a reputation as indubitably one of our most prolific writers and very likely one of our best. Her fiction alone demonstrates considerable variety, ranging from direct naturalism to complex experiments in form. However, what chiefly makes her work her own is a quality of psychological realism, an uncanny ability to bring to the surface an underlying sense of foreboding or a threat of violence that seems to lurk just around the corner from the everyday domestic lives she depicts so realistically. Her first six novels, including Them (1969), which won the National Book Award, express these qualities in varying ways. she is also the recipient of an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Lifetime Achievement Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature. Her title Give Me Your Heart made the New York Times Best seller list for 2011.
Published January 1, 2002 by Carroll & Graf. 80 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Westerns, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Meanwhile, a series of small fires set by an uncaught arsonist terrifies Catamount’s students (two of whom happen to be named Sibyl and Cassandra)—as Gillian finds herself attracted as well to Harrow’s sultry French wife Dorcas, a sculptress whose powerfully animistic, “primitive and dramatic” ha...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Worst of all, there is very little poetry in these fatigued compilations of sentiment ("We clasped hands, we embraced, we parted"), rhetorical questions and the general vacuity ("buoy," "space," "oblivion" appear everywhere), evoked principally by parallelism and repetition ("lost the paragraphin...

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The Guardian

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Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates 140pp, Orion, £9.99 Another new novel by Joyce Carol Oates?

Apr 19 2003 | Read Full Review of Beasts

Publishers Weekly

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Set at Massachusetts's exclusive Catamount College in 1975 and narrated by high-strung poetry major Gillian Brauer, the tale unfolds the tragedy of characters whose type dominates Oates's writing: people of sophistication and refinement whose decadent desires cause them to expose their animal, at...

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Joyce Carol Oates is considered one of the most prolific writers of our time and has more than 100 novels, short stories, poems, and other works in print.

Nov 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Beasts

Project MUSE

Beasts tells the twisted story of Gillian Brauer, a student at Catamount College in southwestern Massachusetts where a spate of arsons have recently occurred.

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