Beautiful Days by Joyce Carol Oates
Stories

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The overly long “Undocumented Alien,” though, about an immigrant who becomes a subject of neurological manipulation, is far less successful. A mixed, occasionally satisfying, volume.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A new collection of thirteen mesmerizing stories by American master Joyce Carol Oates, including the 2017 Pushcart Prize–winning “Undocumented Alien”

The diverse stories of Beautiful Days, Joyce Carol Oates explore the most secret, intimate, and unacknowledged interior lives of characters not unlike ourselves, who assert their independence in acts of bold and often irrevocable defiance.

“Fleuve Bleu” exemplifies the rich sensuousness of Oates’s prose as lovers married to other persons vow to establish, in their intimacy, a ruthlessly honest, truth-telling authenticity missing elsewhere in their complicated lives, with unexpected results. 

In “Big Burnt,” set on lushly rendered Lake George, in the Adirondacks, a cunningly manipulative university professor exploits a too-trusting woman in a way she could never have anticipated. In a more experimental but no less intimate mode, “Les beaux jours” examines the ambiguities of an intensely erotic, exploitative relationship between a “master” artist and his adoring young female model. And the tragic “Undocumented Alien” depicts a young African student enrolled in an American university who is suddenly stripped of his student visa and forced to undergo a terrifying test of courage.

In these stories, as elsewhere in her fiction, Joyce Carol Oates exhibits her fascination with the social, psychological, and moral boundaries that govern our behavior—until the hour when they do not.

 

About Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune 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 the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. 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.
 
Published February 6, 2018 by Ecco. 352 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Beautiful Days
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Oct 31 2017

The overly long “Undocumented Alien,” though, about an immigrant who becomes a subject of neurological manipulation, is far less successful. A mixed, occasionally satisfying, volume.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Benjamin Markovits on Mar 05 2018

This is Oates’s real trick, that her formal games and realism tend to reinforce each other — they make the same case.

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