By Joyce Carol Oates
(Ecco, Hardcover, 9780061996528, 384pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
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A gripping and moving new collection of stories that reimagines the meaning of lossthrough often unexpected and violent means.
Joyce Carol Oates is not only one of our most important novelists and literary critics, she is also an unparalleled master of the short story. Sourlandsixteen previously uncollected stories that explore how the power of violence, loss, and grief shape both the psyche and the soulshows us an author work-ing at the height of her powers.
With lapidary precision and an unflinching eye, Oates maps the surprising contours of ordinary life. From a desperate man who dons a jack-o-lantern head as a prelude to a most curious sort of courtship, to a story of a stabbing many times recounted in the life of a lonely girl; from a beguiling young woman librarian whose amputee state attracts a married man and father, to a girl hopelessly in love with her renegade, incarcerated cousin; from a professors wife who finds herself tragically isolated at a party in her own house, to the concluding title story of an unexpectedly redemptive love rooted in radical aloneness and isolation, each story in Sourland resonates beautifully with Oatess trademark fascination for the unpredictable amid the prosaicthe comming-ling of sexual love and violence, the tumult of family lifeand shines with her predilection for dark humor and her gift for voice.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the bestsellers Blonde, a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Falls, winner of the 2005 Prix Femina. She is a professor of humanities at Princeton University.