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Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong Hardcover – September 3, 2013

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Oates adds to her treasury of diabolical tales (The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, 2011; Black Dahlia & White Rose, 2012) a quartet of shrewd and unnerving novellas about toxic entanglements. In the stylishly gothic title story, the legendary director of a performing arts institute swoops in and makes a much younger researcher shattered by the deaths of her parents his fourth wife, installing her in his fastidiously appointed showcase house, where her inchoate fears about his soul-freezing temper crystallize upon meeting his disfigured first wife. Oates has a superbly disconcerting gift for orchestrating slowly coalescing realizations that something is horribly wrong, as in 16-year-old Lizbeth’s reluctant recognition that her polite, Polaroid-snapping boyfriend may, in fact, be dangerous. In other subtly sinister, adeptly paced scenarios, a failing frat boy high on Ritalin and video-game fantasies turns murderous, and a frigid young woman identifies her childhood abuser. Oates’ deft tales of vulnerable women with surprisingly deep reservoirs of strength and a capacity for revenge are infused with wry and knowing commentary on the battle between the sexes, the justice system, and the consequences of entitlement. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Readers are always ready for new dark tales by best-selling Oates, and this potent volume will gain added visibility given all the attention surrounding her latest novel, The Accursed. --Donna Seaman

Review

“A dazzling, disturbing, tour de force of Gothic suspense: four odd, compelling, ingeniously narrated tales that gain in power and resonance when read in conjunction with each other.”—Boston Globe

“These potboilers about murder, obsession and death have a genre funkiness, a greasy pulp seaminess, that is reminiscent of forgotten subscription serials and old “Twilight Zone” installments. . . . For Oates, whose worldview is as flinty as that of any of her male peers, true horror is rooted not in the supernatural—that would be almost reassuring—but in the things that men and women do to each other under the spell of attraction.”—Washington Post

“These four Gothic tales run the gamut from creepy to mesmerizing. . . . All the while, [Oates] slyly critiques our culture, from parents who don’t protect their young daughters from sexual predators to killers hopped up on prescription meds.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Exquisitely suspenseful. . . . The relationships between the damaged, sometimes monstrous individuals who people these pages will keep the reader riveted."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Love doesn’t just go wrong between Oates’ characters, it blows up, drips poison, tortures, kills. . . . This is among her better quick-turn efforts. Each of its novellas makes your skin crawl even as it also seems completely believable, like something you heard once, from where, you can’t remember.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“This is familiar Oates territory, mapped with artistry and care; dark, bloody, and unforgiving.”—Barnes & Noble Review

“Immediately engaging . . . [the] suspense is palpable.”—Shenandoah

"With her focus on deviant and twisted characters, Oates continues to be a worthy descendant of the gothic tradition of Edgar Allan Poe."—Kirkus Reviews

"A quartet of shrewd and unnerving novellas. . . . Oates has a superbly disconcerting gift for orchestrating slowly coalescing realizations that something is horribly wrong."—Booklist

“A proper definition for the word love is as slippery and ambiguous as the future of Oates’ seemingly doomed characters. . . . Oates makes the reader feel as if an evil eye is trained upon them with the passing of each hour and the turning of each page.”—Missourian (blog)

“A stunningly written, disturbing masterpiece. . . . The four worlds that Oates gives us here pull in the reader until she finds herself too fascinated to leave—even when everything gets creepy.”—Bustle.com

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; 1St Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802120474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802120472
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By thewanderingjew on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A prolific writer, her fans will love this latest work. Her style of writing uses no contrivances to make her point. The plots are simple, but they take the imagination places that one does not see coming, that one does not expect. Oates des not exaggerate ideas to grab your interest, she merely weaves a tale that, while plausible, is also almost unbearable, bordering on revolting and reprehensible sometimes, and yet, she makes it possible to read the stories without getting up and tossing the book in disgust.

The four novellas are related in a spare prose that leaves nothing to the imagination and yet takes creativity to its limits with each story getting more and more grotesque and bizarre, yet each one is, sadly, in the realm of possibility. Simply using her gift, her ability to mold language into the shape she desires, she has constructed four short works about dysfunctional relationships and dysfunctional people, who are sometimes products of their environments, their relationships and even sometimes, simply products of their own evil nature. It is about the inability of people to either communicate accurately or to comprehend what someone is really communicating to them. They put a spin on things that puts them in the best light, rather than the harsh light of reality. They live in a world of ambiguity, fantasy, rather than clarity. Are they sane or insane? Are they simply unhappy, lost souls, who are products of their environments, innocent, in the end, of all wrongdoing and inappropriate thought? Are things what they actually seem to be? Can the characters trust what they see, or more accurately, what they think they see and surmise about each other? Is what appears to be the truth actually the truth or just perception?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Ann on May 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i chose this rating because it was a very good and easy reading for a person who is unable to read alot espescially those who have short term memory. I hope to see more of her works in short stories. Also i can re-read it again because you can choose your favorite story and not go thru the entire novel to get to the ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dog Brindle on November 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Four believable horror stories, of love/life, everything, all gone wrong. The type of stories you've heard about but never would have experienced, hopefully. They are real life horror situations, no matter what you might want to believe.

Infact, stories most people don't even want to talk about let alone to acknowledge it exists. Incest, child molestation, and suicide. Stuff that make your skin crawl.

I picked this book because of it's cover, it caught my eye. Finding out later that two of the novellas contain characters with one eye. It really doesn't explain why. I guess one of those inside jokes, you'd have to be there, played by the writer. Don't expect any conclusions to these stories because there isn't any. You just know life carries on.

The book started slow, with the Evil Eye Novella. I read it and wasn't that impressed but instead of not finishing, I'm glad I stuck with it and finished to the end. Then I reread the first chapter and it clicked. I was left wanting more.

All of them, made be gasp, like a little old lady.

I give this book 5 stars. *****

I loved it.

I'd file this book on the Odd and Bizarre shelf. Mysterious and intriguing.

Michael Estey
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By marcia riley on May 25, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished a book of her short stories that I didn't like because they were all unresolved, as so many short stories are. However I loved these 4 novellas; all had resolutions, as do, of course, her great novels.

Joyce Carol Oates is definitely one of the top ten novelists of the 20th (and now 21st) century: Great intelligence, great imagination and great story-telling ability. Having all three is rare indeed.

I only wish her books were kindle specials more often.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LF on January 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These stories are dark and disturbing, but compelling and beautifully written. Unlike some modern fiction, each story tells an interesting, insightful, complete story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MT Slave on January 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent read by my favorite author. If you like Joyce Carol Oates you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott on September 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a dark and disturbing collection of short stories. For those that would characterize the descriptions of violence as gratuitous, I can only point to the reality of these accounts. The third novella is essentially a retelling of a true life patricide case involving the Porco (Christopher, Joan & Peter) family.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rainier Woman on October 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed Evil Eye as well as the other 3 novellas. Joyce Carol Oates is definitely weird but I enjoy weird. If you are someone who enjoys having all the little details wrapped up, don't bother with this book. But, if you are someone who enjoys using your imagination, this is THE book for you.
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