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Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York on 16 June, 1938 and published her first book in 1963. She hasn’t looked back since, publishing a further 40 novels alongside collections of short stories, poetry and non-fiction!

She won the National Book Award for 1969’s them and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize on various occasions (for her novels Blackwater and Blonde and her short story compilation The Wheel of Love).

Joyce has also worked as a teacher and her 1996 novel, We Were the Mulvaneys, remains one of her most popular.


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Joyce Carol Oates Books

  • Beautiful Days

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BUQFN
    Paperback
    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.
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  • The Pursuit

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: CAWIY
    Hardback
    As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night, in which she wandered through a field ridden with human skulls and bones. Now an adult, Abby thinks she's outgrown her demons, until, the evening before her wedding, the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband, Willem. The following day - less than 24 hours after exchanging vows - Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge, and he quickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what his wife might be hiding. Why, for example is there a rash-like red mark circling her wrist? What does she dream about that causes her to wake from the sound of her own screams? Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before - the story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug addled father; and a daughter's terrifying captivity. With a suspenseful, alternating narrative that travels between the present and Abby's tortured childhood, The Pursuit is a meticulously crafted, deeply disquieting tale that showcases Oates's masterful storytelling.
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  • Hazards of Time Travel

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BZQGA
    Paperback
    An ingenious dystopian novel of one young woman's resistance against the constraints of an oppressive society When a recklessly idealistic girl in a dystopian future society dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled world, she is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America - `Wainscotia, Wisconsin' - that existed eighty years before. Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town, she is set upon a course of `rehabilitation' - but she falls in love with a fellow exile and starts to question the constraints of her new existence, with results that are both devastating and liberating. Arresting and visionary, Hazards of Time Travel is an exquisitely wrought love story, a novel of harrowing discovery - and an oblique but powerful response to our current political climate.
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  • Triumph of the Spider Monkey

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BYKGQ
    Paperback
    Unavailable for 40 years, this seminal novel of madness and murder is acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates' powerful trip into the mind of a maniac. Abandoned as a baby in a bus station locker, shuttled from one abusive foster home and detention center to another, Bobbie Gotteson grew up angry, hurting, damaged. His hunger to succeed as a musician brought him across the country to Hollywood, but along with it came his seething rage, his paranoid delusions, and his capacity for acts of shocking violence. Unavailable for 40 years, The Triumph of the Spider Monkey is an eloquent, terrifying, heartbreaking exploration of madness by one of the most acclaimed authors of the past century. This definitive edition for the first time pairs the original novel with a never-before-collected companion novella by Joyce Carol Oates, unseen since its sole publication in a literary journal nearly half a century ago, which examines the impact of Gotteson's killing spree on a woman who survived it, as seen through the eyes of the troubled young man hired by a private detective to surveil her...
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  • The New Kitten

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BYHCC
    Hardback
    From acclaimed author (and cat lover!) Joyce Carol Oates comes a charming, heartwarming picture book. As the only cat in her house, Cherie is accustomed to being showered with treats and affection. So when her family brings home a new kitten named Cleopatra, Cherie resents that she's no longer the center of attention-and she can't believe all the trouble that the kitten gets away with! Is one home big enough for two kitties? Beautifully illustrated by Dave Mottram, this picture book will resonate for any reader who has-eventually!-found the joy in sharing the spotlight with a new family addition.
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  • My Life as a Rat

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BXJIE
    Hardback
    A brilliant and thought-provoking novel about family, loyalty and betrayal Once I'd been Daddy's favourite. Before something terrible happened. Violet Rue is the baby of the seven Kerrigan children and adores her big brothers. What's more, she knows that a family protects its own. To go outside the family - to betray the family - is unforgiveable. So when she overhears a conversation not meant for her ears and discovers that her brothers have committed a heinous crime, she is torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of justice. The decision she takes will change her life for ever. Exploring racism, misogyny, community, family, loyalty, sexuality and identity, this is a dark story with a tense and propulsive atmosphere - Joyce Carol Oates at her very best.
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  • Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BUMSQ
    Paperback
    A woman, naked except for her high-heeled shoes, is seated in front of the window in an apartment she cannot afford, as her married lover rushes, amorously, murderously, to her door. An ageing, jealous wife crafts an unusual game of Russian roulette involving a pair of Wedgwood teacups, a strong Bengal brew, and a lethal concoction of medicine. Who will drink from the wrong cup, the wife or the dance student she believes to be her husband's latest conquest? A former Sunday School teacher's corpse turns up and the blighted adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder - but is he really responsible? In a fantastic ode to H.P. Lovecraft, a young outsider is haunted by apparitions at the very edge of the spectrum of visibility after the death of his tortured father. Revelling in the uncanny, this taut collection stands at the crossroads of sex, violence, and longing - challenging us to interrogate the intersection of these impulses within ourselves.
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  • Freaky Green Eyes

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BUAQY
    Paperback
    New novel from the bestselling author of BIG MOUTH AND UGLY GIRL. To the outside world, Franky Pierson is a lucky girl with a charmed life. With a celebrity dad - TV sports commentator, Reid Pierson - and beautiful artist mother, living in a state-of-the-art designer home and wanting for nothing, their world could be described as perfect. And Franky could almost believe this is true - after all, her father keeps on telling her that it is and she would never disagree with him. But in that case, why does is her mother spending time away from home? And how come her step-brother is barely speaking, and her little sister won't stop whining? Why are they all provoking dad in this way? Freaky Green Eyes knows the answers. Freaky Green Eyes is Franky's inner self. Only she dares to look at Franky's life and dare to suggest that all is not as it should be in the Pierson household. But is she strong enough to do anything about it - before something really terrible happens? A really compelling and eye-opening novel that keeps you turning pages from beginning to end.
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  • Soul at the White Heat

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BIAYJ
    Paperback
    A new collection of critical and personal essays on writing, obsession, and inspiration from National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates, now in paperback."Why do we write?"With this question, Joyce Carol Oates begins an imaginative exploration of the writing life, and all its attendant anxieties, joys, and futilities, in this collection of seminal essays and criticism. Leading her quest is a desire to understand the source of the writer's inspiration-do subjects haunt those that might bring them back to life until the writer submits? Or does something "happen" to us, a sudden ignition of a burning flame? Can the appearance of a muse-like Other bring about a writer's best work?In Soul at the White Heat, Oates deploys her keenest critical faculties, conjuring contemporary and past voices whose work she deftly and creatively dissects for clues to these elusive questions. Virginia Woolf, John Updike, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Joan Didion, Zadie Smith, and many others appear as predecessors and peers-material through which Oates sifts in acting as literary detective, philosopher, and student. The book is at its most thrilling when watching the writer herself at work, and Oates provides rare insight into her own process, in candid, self-aware dispatches from the author's own writing room. Longtime admirers of Joyce Carol Oates' novels as well as her prose will discover much to be inspired by and obsess upon themselves in this inventive collection from an American master. As the New York Times has said of her essays, "Oates's writing has always seemed effortless: urgent, unafraid, torrential. She writes like a woman who walks into rough country and doesn't look back."
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  • Dis mem Ber

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: BCVXB
    Hardback
    Seven unsettling works from one of our greatest literary imaginations. A precocious eleven-year-old girl, in thrall to the mysterious black sheep of the family, climbs into his sky-blue Chevy for a drive into the unknown...A university transfer student becomes increasingly obsessed with the murder of a female classmate, placing her own sense of self in peril...A recent widow fantasizes about transforming into a great flying predator, unerring and pitiless in the hunt...A trusting group of bird-watchers is borne to a remote part of the globe, and to a harrowing fate...These meticulously crafted, deeply disquieting stories confront the dangers that surround us, and the dangers that lurk within.
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  • The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Horror

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: AYVIK
    Hardback
    Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Joyce Carol Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge...A white man shoots dead a black youth creating a media frenzy. But could it have been self-defense as he claims? A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she's convinced he wants to kill her...These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.
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  • The Man Without a Shadow

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: AWQJU
    Paperback
    From bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates, a taut and fascinating novel that examines the mysteries of human memory and personality In 1965, a young research scientist named Margot Sharpe meets Elihu Hoopes, the subject of her study, a handsome amnesiac who cannot remember anything beyond the last seventy seconds. Over the course of thirty years, the two embark on mirroring journeys of self-discovery. Margot, enthralled by her charming, mysterious, and deeply lonely patient, as well as her officious supervisor, attempts to unlock Eli's shuttered memories of a childhood trauma without losing her own sense of identity in the process. And Eli, haunted by memories of an unknown girl's body underneath the surface of a lake, pushes to finally know himself once again, despite potentially devastating consequences. As Margot and Eli meet over and over again, Joyce Carol Oates' tightly written, nearly clinical prose propels the lives of these two characters forwards, both suspended in a dream-like, shadowy present, and seemingly balanced on the thinnest, sharpest of lines between past and future. Made vivid by Oates' eye for detail and searing insight into the human psyche, The Man Without a Shadow is an eerie, ambitious, and structurally complex novel, as poignant as it is thrilling.
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  • The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Horror

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: AWIJM
    Paperback
    Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Joyce Carol Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge...A white man shoots dead a black youth creating a media frenzy. But could it have been self-defense as he claims? A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she's convinced he wants to kill her...These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.
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  • Carthage

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: ALNCS
    Paperback
    A young girl's disappearance rocks a community and a family, in this stirring examination of grief, faith, justice and the atrocities of war, from literary legend Joyce Carol Oates. Cressida Mayfield has gone missing. The desperate search yields but one clue; she was last seen in the company of Corporal Brett Kincaid, Iraq veteran - and the ex-fiance of Cressida's sister. As the deeply traumatized Kincaid struggles to mount a defence, he finds his memories of that terrible night are tangled with those of the most appalling wartime savagery. Dark and riveting, the nerve-shredding Carthage unravels the devastating consequences of violence on two young lives, while probing the very limits of our capacity for forgiveness.
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  • The Accursed

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: AIJOP
    Paperback
    An eerie, unforgettable story of power, loss, and family curses in early 20th-century Princeton. Princeton, New Jersey at the turn of the 20th century: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a neighbouring farm, muck-raking novelist Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of The Jungle, has taken up residence with his family. Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House has retired to town for a quieter life. Meanwhile, the elite families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse - their daughters are 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. In the Pine Barrens on the edge of town, a mysterious and persuasive evil takes shape. 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 presidents past to its brightest literary luminaries, from Mark Twain to Jack London, as he navigates both the idyllic town and the Dante-esque landscape of the Barrens. 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 fantastical elements to stunning effect.
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  • A Widow's Story

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: ADOEW
    Paperback
    'My husband died, my life collapsed.' On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray was dead from a hospital-acquired virulent infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced -- totally unprepared -- with the reality of widowhood. 'A Widow's Story' illuminates one woman's struggle to comprehend a life absent of the partnership that had sustained and defined her for nearly half a century. Joyce Carol Oates shares the derangement of denial, the anguish of loss, the disorientation of the survivor amid a nightmare of 'death duties', and the solace of friendship. She writes unflinchingly of the experience of grief -- the almost unbearable suspense of the hospital vigil, the treacherous 'pools' of memory that surround us, the vocabulary of illness, the absurdities of commercialized forms of mourning. Enlivened by the piercing vision, acute perception and mordant humour that are the hallmarks of the work of Joyce Carol Oates, this is a extremely moving tale of life and death, love and grief.
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  • Black Girl/White Girl

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: ADEII
    Paperback
    A controversial, painfully intimate depiction of race in America by the esteemed author of 'We were the Mulvaneys', 'Blonde' and 'The Falls'. Fifteen years after the mysterious death of Minette Swift -- a 19-year-old black girl enrolled as a scholarship student in an exclusive liberal arts college -- her former roommate Genna begins an unofficial enquiry into the traumatic event. In reconstructing the girls' tumultuous freshman year at the college, Genna is led also to reconstruct her life as the daughter of a famous 'radical-hippie-lawyer' of the 1960s among whose clients were anti-Vietnam war protesters wanted by the FBI. What follows is a gripping and personal portrayal of 'black' and 'white' in America in the years of crisis following the end of the Vietnam War, and the ignominious exposure and fall of President Richard Nixon.
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  • Blonde

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: ADDZR
    Paperback
    'Nobody has ever caught Marilyn more brilliantly in words than Oates.' John Sutherland, Sunday Times 'Oates has been fearless in taking on a subject that criss-crossed almost every important strand of mid twentieth century history ...Apart from her, only Don Delillo, among today's American novelists, and no one at all among today's American women novelists, would be able to handle such a huge cast of imagined and real characters ...A mighty - and a mesmerising - book.' Elaine Showalter, Literary Review 'This novel deserves a wide audience. Blonde is what whole shelvesful of Monroe biographies should be but are not - a fabulous reinvention of the life of a fabulous reinvention, a mirror on our collective vanities and a cracking page turner to boot.' Evening Standard 'Blonde is an epic achievement, a masterpiece, a piece of art so shatteringly well-conceived and lavishly-wrought that at times it almost does not seem like a mere book ...If this book doesn't catapult Joyce Carol Oates into British best sellerdom, nothing will. Julie Myerson, Independent on Sunday 'Novelists such as John Updike, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer slug it out for the title of the Great American Novelist. But maybe they're wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.' The Herald
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  • Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: ADDYG
    Paperback 14 years +
    Hard-hitting, page-turning and celebratory of friendship in unlikely circumstances, Joyce Carol Oates' sure touch with small town life hits home in her first young adult novel. Matt Donaghy is the class joker, and Ursula Riggs is the misfit loner. Neither knows the other. But when Matt is suddenly arrested on a charge of threatening to blow up the school and massacre the students, Ursula is the only one who sees through the hysteria and hypocrisy, and corroborates Matt's story. The case is dropped, but Matt's old friends avoid him, and his teachers treat him with kid gloves. Even Ursula, apparently his only friend during the crisis, can't meet his eye. But Ursula can't remain aloof when she catches Matt contemplating suicide -- and a strange friendship is born.
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  • The Falls

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: ADDLG
    Paperback
    A tale of murder, loss and romance in the mist of Niagara Falls: it is the crowning achievement of Joyce Carol Oates's career to date. A man climbs over the railings and plunges into Niagara Falls. He's a newly-wed, and his bride has been left behind in the honeymoon suite the morning after their wedding. For two weeks, Ariah, the deserted bride, waits by the side of the roaring waterfall for news of her husband's recovered body. During her vigil, an unlikely new love story begins to unfold when she meets a wealthy lawyer who is transfixed by her strange, otherworldly gaze. So it all begins, in the 1950s, with the dark foreboding of the Falls as the sinister background to the tragedy. From this cataclysmic event unfurls a drama of parents and their children; of secrets and sins; of lawsuits, murder and, eventually redemption. As Ariah's children learn that their past is enmeshed with a hushed-up scandal involving radioactive waste materials, they must confront not only their personal history but America's murky past: the despoiling of the American landscape and the corruption and greed of the massive industrial expansion of the 1950s and 1960s. This novel of tremendous sweep and pace is about the American family in crisis -- but also about America itself in the mid-20th century. This book alone places Joyce Carol Oates definitively in the company of the Great American Novelists.
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  • Little Bird of Heaven

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Product Code: AASMM
    Paperback
    'A writer of extraordinary strengths' Guardian Set in the mythical small city of Sparta, New York, this searing, vividly rendered exploration of the mysterious conjunction of erotic romance and tragic violence in late 20th-century America. When a young wife and mother named Zoe Kruller is found brutally murdered, the Sparta police target two primary suspects: her estranged husband Delray and her longtime lover Eddy Diehl. In turn, the Krullers's son Aaron and Eddy's daughter Krista become obsessed with one another, each believing the other's father is guilty. Told in halves in the very different voices of Krista and Aaron, Little Bird of Heaven is classic Joyce Carol Oates, in which the lyricism of intense sexual love is intertwined with the anguish of loss, and tenderness is barely distinguishable from cruelty. By the novel's end, the fated lovers, meeting again as adults, are at last ready to exorcise the ghosts of the past and come to terms with their legacy of guilt, misplaced love and redemptive yearning. With Little Bird of Heaven, Joyce Carol Oates once again confirms her place as one of the most outstanding writers at work today.
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