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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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I Am No One You Know: Stories Paperback – April 5, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Never one to shy away from grim or sensational themes, Oates writes about murder, rape, arson and terrorism in her latest collection of short fiction. In these 19 stories, she evokes the underbellies of small towns and the bizarre and obsessive desires of their inhabitants. In "Upholstery," a teenager finds herself helplessly attracted to a lecherous older man. A 14-year-old in "The Girl with the Blackened Eye" is brutally abducted but afraid to break her kidnapper's trust by escaping. In Oates's precise psychological renderings, victims are as complex as villains and almost always more interesting. The lure of the criminal is seductive, impossible to resist. Two stories, "In Hiding" and "The Instructor," feature middle-class female intellectuals inexplicably drawn to convicts. The prototypical victim, Marilyn Monroe-also the subject of Oates's acclaimed 2001 novel Blonde-appears in disguise in "Three Girls," when two young coeds encounter her in the Strand bookstore and agree to help her remain anonymous. The collection closes with a story about September 11 that in anyone but Oates's hands would fall flat. But "The Mutants," in which a young woman trapped in her downtown apartment building refuses to be paralyzed by fear, is beautifully, uncannily affecting. "She was hollow-eyed and gaunt yet wakeful, no longer the dreamy-eyed blond. A mutant being, primed to survive." Indeed, even the strangest events in this sure-footed collection are painfully familiar.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Oates is vitally concerned, even obsessed, with the most primal and disturbing encounters between females and males, and her new searing short stories explore the malevolent aspects of human sexuality with unflinching authenticity and a cathartic fascination. Set in Oates country--bleak, rural New York State--these bold and bloody tales enfold elements of the mystery genre as Oates introduces compellingly expressive young women threatened or assaulted by men, some of whom they should be able to trust. Race is frequently a factor, as is the vulnerability of literary women somewhat like herself, a concern Oates dramatizes to chilling affect in "The Instructor," in which a novice writing teacher, "a young woman with a quiet, implacable will," confronts a former death-row inmate. Then, in another exceptionally accomplished tale, "Me & Wolfie, 1979," wizardly Oates turns the tables by portraying a crazed and destructive woman. Ultimately, key truths emerge: family bonds can be shackles, and women possess the amazing ability to put their lives back together after even the most hellish ordeal. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060592893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060592899
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on July 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I can only expect something staggering and literary when I pick up Joyce Carol Oates. I am No One You Know is one of the darkest and most disturbing short-story collections I've ever read. And I've read my fair share of incredible short stories! Oates writes about rape, murder and depression like very few writers. These stories are thought provoking and gripping, beautiful and poignant. My favorite stories are "Upholstery," "The Girl with the Blackened Eye," "Fire," "Mutants," and "Three Girls." Each of these stories enthralled me from beginning to end. Their messages affected me. I cannot recommend this short-story collection enough. It is the perfect thing to pick up if you're in the bargain for some deep reading.
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Format: Hardcover
There is little doubt that Joyce Carol Oates is not afraid to write about all the things we fear: child abuse, rape, neurotic parents, murder. But just when you think that you have got her pegged, she writes a lovely story like "Three Girls" about a chance meeting, viewing really of Marilyn Monroe by two uppity yet driven-to-distraction-because they see a star college girls at a bookstore in downtown NYC. ("...Marilyn Monroe. She gave us a book. Was any of it real?") Then of course she includes "The Girl with the Blackened Eye" in this collection that recalls her recent "Rape...A Love Story" and once again writes of a brutal rape.

The stories in "I Am No One You Know" are uneven which pretty much goes hand-in-hand with this type of story collection...i.e. taken from many sources, written over the course of several years. But nonetheless there are several real doozies, for example : "Aiding and Abetting, " about how families look away when there is real horror amongst their own and how a huge price can be paid for this and "Fire" about the pleasures of alcohol ("Drinking clarified. Confusion dissolved.")

Oates is equally at home in the short story and the long format form. And, of course she has written brilliantly in both. But there is something about Oates's short stories that draw you in even closer, telescope and make what she is saying even sharper and "I Am No One You Know" contains some shining examples of this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arguably, this is the best collection of short stories ever published by Joyce Carol Oates. Her focus in this book is trauma, from the most personal and emotional to the most global, i.e. The World Trade Center Disaster. Her elucidation of the psychological is center stage in all of her stories. Each story depicting a truly personal trauma, the book takes the reader through the pain and effects of the death of parents, the influence of serious mental illness, the difficult love and emotional interactions of a student who is seduced by a teacher and many other topics that reflect what we have seen going on in the American Society in the last decade.

Always, there is the ever present hardscrabble existence of those in the Upstate New York environment, the struggle to make a living, and the struggle just to live with the prevailing conditions of the region. The struggle to live and live with one's own thoughts and experiences is truly brought to the surface.

From a writing standpoint this book finds Joyce at the apex of her short story writing career. The stories are carefully crafted, with the use of multiple literary techniques. Her use of phrases to highlight and illustrate specific intensities of thought and feeling are wonderfully blended with a writing style that grips the reader like a pipe wrench. The reader is drawn into the lives of the characters time after time. Her stories do not always resolve, leaving the reader to extrapolate the future of the characters. The pictures she paints with her words are explicit and the most intense examples of human reality. This reality is mixed most explicitly with the internal feeling of most of the characters that they are unique and that they are "No One You Know."

The book is recommended for all serious readers of modern literature. It is a classic in all respects. Do not miss this opportunity to read some of the best short stories ever put in one book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms Oates is one of the finest living writers, particularly in the short story form. As only the most skilled storytellers can, she can hook you with the first line and deeply involve you in the lives of her characters in the first paragraph.

I must object to a comment that the reviewer from Booklist made about the story "Me & Wolfie, 1979." The reviewer completely missed the point of a moving story about a bright, sensitive boy and his bi-polar mother. Despite the problems she created for him, she also introduced him to a world of magic and beauty. Moving and not soon forgotten.
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Format: Hardcover
In this new story collection by Joyce Carol Oates, she invokes a wide range of voices from children to adults, both male and female. The content is sometimes horrifically violent like in `The Girl with the Blackened Eye' where a woman recalls her experience being kidnapped and at other times the tone of the stories is incredibly tender and gentle like in `Three Girls' where two young students follow and protect a disguised Marilyn Monroe around the famous Strand Used Book store. What is striking about this arrangement of stories is the very personal feel they all contain with the sense that many of the characters are looking back and trying to decipher crucial moments when their destinies changed.

A mournful feeling of regret runs through this collection. For instance, when using a complex narrator's voice in the story `Me & Wolfie, 1979' (probably the most experimental and difficult story in the collection) the protagonist states, "For every hurt dealt to her son she loved, Me dealt herself a dozen." In many cases a decision on the part of one person has led to an irresolvable split in that person's family like in `Curly Red' where a girl chooses to reveal a family secret leading to her own isolation. One of Oates' greatest abilities is to seek out injustice and expose it by giving a voice to those who are silenced. But she is not one to shy from the complexities of certain situations by recognizing the levels of conscious participation on all sides or the wilful self deceit some people impose upon themselves. In `The Deaths: An Elegy' a woman chooses to confuse the facts of her parents' relationship and strikes out against her brother who probably saved her life.
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