The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
A Novel (Oates, Joyce Carol)

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Synopsis

Joshua Seigl, a celebrated but reclusive author, is forced for reasons of failing health to surrender his much-prized bachelor's independence. Advertising for an assistant, he unwittingly embarks upon the most dangerous adventure of his privileged life.

Alma Busch, a sensuous, physically attractive young woman with bizarre tattoos covering much of her body, stirs in Seigl a complex of emotions: pity? desire? responsibility? guilt? Unaware of her painful past and her troubled personality, Seigl hires her as his assistant. As the novel alternates between Seigl's and Alma's points of view, the naïve altruism of the one and the virulent anti-Semitism of the other clash in a tragedy of thwarted erotic desire.

With her masterful balance of dark suspense and surprising tenderness, Joyce Carol Oates probes the contemporary tragedy of ethnic hatred and challenges our accepted limits of desire. The Tattooed Girl may be her most controversial novel.

 

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 October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Tattooed Girl

The Guardian

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The Tattooed Girl Joyce Carol Oates Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp320 Joyce Carol Oates is obsessed with that greatest of American themes - the quest to recreate the self.

Jan 04 2004 | Read Full Review of The Tattooed Girl: A Novel (O...

The Guardian

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The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates 320pp, Fourth Estate, £16.99 Before starting The Tattooed Girl, I was pretty much a Joyce Carol Oates virgin: I'd read a few of her short stories, including the most famous, "Upon the Sweeping Flood".

Jan 24 2004 | Read Full Review of The Tattooed Girl: A Novel (O...

Publishers Weekly

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Like the readers of Seigl's The Shadows, those who look for more meaning beneath the surface will be "forced to imagine what the writer doesn't reveal."

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Star Tribune

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She goes happily for the Gothic, with sentences like: "The name of Alma was a goad like a hot poker to Jet, provoking her to exclaim, 'Alma, what is this "Alma" to you?' " If this were genre fiction, Oates would be excused from verisimilitude.

Jun 21 2003 | Read Full Review of The Tattooed Girl: A Novel (O...

Entertainment Weekly

Meanwhile, Joshua Seigl's torment is interior: A one-hit literary sensation (he wrote an acclaimed Holocaust novel based on his family's experience), Seigl now doubts his abilities, first mental, then physical -- an unnamed disease is disabling him.

Jun 20 2003 | Read Full Review of The Tattooed Girl: A Novel (O...

The Sydney Morning Herald

Anyway, a Jewish writer walks into a bar ...

Mar 13 2004 | Read Full Review of The Tattooed Girl: A Novel (O...

London Review of Books

The question is whether Oates’s variant of the trauma style constitutes significant writing.

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Variety

Joyce Carol Oates has fashioned her 2003 novel "The Tattooed Girl" into an intriguing but verbose play about a relationship between an uneducated, anti-Semitic woman and her employer, a literary scholar and child of Holocaust survivors.

Feb 08 2005 | Read Full Review of The Tattooed Girl: A Novel (O...

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