Cover image for Beasts
Title:
Beasts
Author:
Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Carroll & Graf, 2002.
Physical Description:
138 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
"An Otto Penzler book."
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780786708963
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

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."--TheWashington 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


Author Notes

Joyce Carol Oates was born on June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Syracuse University and a master's degree in English from the University of Wisconsin.

She is the author of numerous novels and collections of short stories. Her works include We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, Bellefleur, You Must Remember This, Because It Is Bitter, Because It Is My Heart, Solstice, Marya : A Life, and Give Me Your Heart. She has received numerous awards including the National Book Award for Them, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature. She was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her title Lovely, Dark, Deep. She also wrote a series of suspense novels under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith. In 2015, her novel The Accursed became listed as a bestseller on the iBooks chart.

She worked as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, before becoming the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She and her late husband Raymond J. Smith operated a small press and published a literary magazine, The Ontario Review.

(Bowker Author Biography) Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most eminent and prolific literary figures and social critics of our times. She has won the National Book Award and several O. Henry and Pushcart prizes. Among her other awards are an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Lifetime Achievement Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

It's de rigueur to exclaim over Oates' protean output and unwavering excellence, and rightly so. The ink has barely dried on her last novel, Middle Age [BKL Jl 01], as this deliciously gothic tale appears. It's the mid-1970s, and the students at the small New England all-girls college that Gillian, Oates' compelling narrator, attends are under the spell of their poetry teacher, Andre Harrow. He tells his young, pliable charges to "go for the jugular" in their writing and ignites the sexual tension in the air by reading them the stunningly erotic poetry of D. H. Lawrence. Enthralled, Gillian believes she loves Harrow and becomes obsessed, too, with Dorcas, his voluptuous sculptor wife, who makes sinister "totems," carved wooden figures that express a bestial sexuality. Meanwhile, fires are breaking out all over campus, students are turning suicidal, and Andre insists that his elite writing group read their private journals aloud. Oates' control of this smart, steely tale of the baser side of human nature is absolute, as are its dark and scintillating pleasures. Donna Seaman


Library Journal Review

In her new novella, the prolific Oates paints a riveting picture of a time when drugs were viewed with a more tolerant eye and sexual promiscuity was the order of the day. The story revolves around a group of college girls in the 1970s and their obsessive preoccupation with charismatic anti-establishment English professor Andre Harrow and his artist wife, Dorcas. The two stand out in their small New England college town, and they revel in their difference, which draws Andre's female students to him like bees to honey. A talented and infatuated junior, Gillian is relegated to the shadows until Andre picks her out as one of his "special" girls. What follows is a disturbing look at the power of obsession and the abuse of trust. The story, though implausible in today's world, is quite believable in its 1970s setting. It's a quick read at 128 pages but suspenseful and satisfying to the end, with Oates once again displaying her amazing flair for complex and slightly bizarre characters. Recommended for all fiction collections. Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.