The Tattooed Girl
By Joyce Carol Oates
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061136047, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 2007
Celebrated author Joshua Seigl, an idiosyncratic bachelor and confirmed recluse—young but in failing health—reluctantly admits to himself that he must hire a live-in assistant to help him with his increasingly complicated professional and personal affairs. Then one day at the bookstore he encounters Alma, a young woman covered with bizarre tattoos, who stirs something inside him. Unaware of her torturous past—the abuses she's suffered, the wrongs she's committed, the virulent hatred that seethes within her—Seigl decides that she is the one, and he has no idea that he is bringing an enemy into his home.
With her unique, masterful balance of dark suspense and surprising tenderness, Joyce Carol Oates probes the tragedy of ethnic hatred and challenges the accepted limits of desire.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and the National Humanities Medal, our government's highest civilian honor for the arts. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She 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. In 2003 she received the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the 2010 recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Joyce Carol Oates lives in Princeton, New Jersey.