Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$4.95
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Great condition. May show minor wear on cover, pages, corners, and edges. Proceeds from Sales Benefit our Local Charities.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Dear Husband,: Stories Hardcover – March 31, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$0.01 $0.01
Audio CD
"Please retry"
$7.79

Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The family ties that bind (and choke) are the overarching theme of Oates's grim but incisive collection. The title story takes the form of a rambling letter from an Andrea Yates–like mother after her infanticide is completed, detailing her belief that God has instructed her to drown her five little children who have not turned out right. A Princeton Idyll gives us a series of letters between a chipper children's author, granddaughter of a famous physicist, now deceased, and his sometimes sentimental, sometimes-bitter former maid; the result, in true Oatesian fashion, is dark family secrets and a good deal of denial. In Vigilante a son, struggling with his recovery from substance abuse, helps his unknowing mom by exacting revenge on his estranged dad. Special is told from the perspective of an elementary-school girl who moves toward desperate action watching her autistic older sister strain her parents' marriage and, worse, garner all their attention. Throughout the collection, Oates seamlessly enters the minds of disparate characters to find both the exalted and depraved aspects of real American families. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In these 14 melancholic stories, Oates unearths the unsettling and morbid side of American life. “Special” shows us the extremes of childhood sibling rivalry, while in “The Blind Man’s Sighted Daughters,” grown sisters face the inequities of their relationship. “Suicide by Fitness Center” and “Mistrial” both explore how middle-aged women cope with loneliness; in “The Glazers” and “Vigilante,” we meet two young adults in over their heads. The collection is wintry and dark, best read by the emotionally stable, as Oates spirals into the realities of death and the sadness of life. Although the stories are unsettling, Oates maintains intimacy and empathy with her characters. From the uncontrollable desires of a drug addict to the unwavering love of a mother for her child, Oates’ people are starkly crafted yet written with care. Like Oates’ We Were the Mulvaneys (1996), this novel reflects the author’s fascination with the demise of family life. Another significant chapter in the career of a prolific and consistently thought-provoking American author. --Heather Paulson
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061704318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061704314
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,869,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
These fourteen short stories focus on family relationships that appear initially normal, but turn grim when a crisis occurs. Each tale is well written and insightful; with some shocking. For example "Dear Husband" is a letter from infanticide mom Andrea Yates explaining to her spouse she did God's work when she drowned their children. "Vigilante" focuses on a drug abuser son trying to kick the habit while helping his mom avenge his father. Though some aspects of the theme has been used often by Ms. Oates, all the entries are "Special" whether it stars an autistic child devastating the lives of her caretaker parents and her ignored younger sister or a juror attracted to a charismatic defendant in "Mistrial". Women forced to make difficult decisions that fail to go as planned in "Cutty Sark," and "Landfill," or meeting the boyfriend's family in "The Glazers,", are part of "Dear Joyce Carol Oates" entreating look at the dark side of the American family.

Harriet Klausner
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
It is truly thrilling for a short story lover to be aware of Joyce Carol Oates and her ability to write the perfect short story. Contained in this amazing collection is 14 of them. Most importantly, she propels the reader into a blissful state, lost completely in the characters, dialogue and world of her storylines. Many of these tales possess themes of leaving a family or family member.

The first story, "Panic," is both frightening and heart-rending. It starts with the simplest of opening lines: "He knows this fact: It was a school bus." You will be hooked by the end of the first paragraph and will find yourself reading faster and faster, devouring each sentence quickly while not missing a single word.

The most fascinating story is "A Princeton Idyll," which ironically was published originally in The Yale Review. Through letters to her grandparents' maid, a now-43-year-old woman attempts to discover truths about her grandfather and his association with great minds of our time, such as Albert Einstein. You will not be able to help but reminisce about aspects of your life and memories of pleasant times spent with your grandparents. However, there is an underlying, ominous theme here that gets under your skin. Oates's incredible ability to tantalize readers with foreshadowing is legend. Hidden agendas, tidbits of juicy gossip and hurt feelings pervade these letters as well.

Although some of these entries are painful, deliberate and caustic, we are treated to the rare humorous story, like "Dear Joyce Carol." I won't give away the character description, but I will "leak" the scenario. Oates visits Boise, Idaho, on a book tour recently. A man who is unable to attend her talk writes to her through her publisher.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Oates short stories are engaging, dark and show the ugly side of humanity in a way that can be very real. Although peppered with fiction and some exaggerations, this is another one of her books that didn't disappoint me and felt me wanting more. For readers who like short stories of a dark nature, this is a full plate. Enjoy.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Oates, an incredibly prolific writer, can be relied on to craft haunting and macabre short stories that leave the reader shaken and shell-shocked. Her longer fiction is, however, more chequered and inconsistent in my opinion, and one takes a risk when ploughing into one of her novels. Perhaps it is too claustrophobic to be trapped inside her dark gothic world for prolonged periods, and the narrative sags.

There is fortunately no such failing in this collection. In each of the stories in Dear Husband, which are slotted into two parts, miscreant characters dot the storyscape; from the deceptively stately middle-aged librarian, whose obsession with a defendant interferes with her juror duties in “Mistrial”, to the young upright lawyer in the opener “Panic”, who grapples with feelings of inadequacy, doubt and betrayal, in the aftermath of what he had mistaken as a threatening gesture from the boys in the school bus in front of his family car and his wife’s reaction to it.

Oates’s brand of urban horror works because of the seemingly innocuous settings, which are almost invariably suburban, and the relatively ‘safe’ backgrounds of the characters, with arguably strong (or suffocating) familial ties. Many of these stories deal with family relationships and explore the crises that arise, often from little kinks in an otherwise wholesome exterior. In “Special”, a young girl scarred in a domestic accident, struggles to heal and move on, even as she confronts the ambivalence of her family, and the unspoken tussle with her intellectually-challenged sister.

Elsewhere, Oates uses the epistolary form to track the unravelling of a Vietnam veteran as he bombards the (fictional?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who reads JCO knows that she's not going to pour sugar over everything and serve you a sweet little treat. Her novels and her short stories are relentlessly dark, though some of them end on more hopeful notes than others. DEAR HUSBAND doesn't have too many moments of hopefulness; the tales in here are merciless in their intensity and their portrayal of marginalized, lonely, and/or off-kilter people. And yet, underneath Oates' sometimes purple pen, she has great sympathy for many of her loners, who just seem to have been left behind.

These tales are all the more affecting for the settings of the stories, most of which explore the dynamics of (and challenges of) family life. I found the title story ("Dear Husband,") to be the weakest in the collection; it just seemed a bit hurried to me, when the issues surrounding the Andrea Yates case are so much more complicated. I couldn't quite connect with "Magda Maria," either - it just seemed like another one of Oates' prototypical stories of a femme fatale who both manipulates and is manipulated by a sequence of powerful men, and her quiet admirer who loves her from afar.

It was the most disturbing of the stories that will stay with me the longest. "Cutty Sark" is the story of a teenage boy brutalized by his exhibitionistic mother, who reveals her misdeeds in salacious memoirs/autobiographies without giving a single thought to the effect of those publications on her son and her ex-husband. The mother is one of those narcissistic Oatesian mothers who's entirely wrapped up in herself and coming undone simultaneously. The story itself is heartbreaking, and Oates tells a powerful tale of the sins of the mothers being visited upon the children.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews