Black Dahlia & White Rose
By Joyce Carol Oates
(Ecco, Hardcover, 9780062195692, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A wildly inventive new collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates that charts the surprising ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours
The New York Times has hailed Joyce Carol Oates as "a dangerous writer in the best sense of the word, one who takes risks almost obsessively with energy and relish." Black Dahlia & White Rose, a collection of eleven previously uncollected stories, showcases the keen rewards of Oates's relentless brio and invention. In one beautifully honed story after another, Oates explores the menace that lurks at the edges of and intrudes upon even the seemingly safest of livesand maps with rare emotional acuity the transformational cost of such intrusions.
Unafraid to venture into no-man's-lands both real and surreal, Oates takes readers deep into dangerous territory, from a maximum-security prisonvividly delineating the heartbreaking and unexpected atmosphere of such an institutionto the inner landscapes of two beautiful and mysteriously doomed young women in 1940s Los Angeles: Elizabeth Short, otherwise known as the Black Dahlia, victim of a long-unsolved and particularly brutal murder, and her roommate Norma Jeane Baker, soon to become Marilyn Monroe. Whether exploring the psychological compulsion of the wife of a well-to-do businessman who is ravished by, and elopes with, a lover who is not what he seems or the uneasily duplicitous relationships between young women and their parents, Black Dahlia & White Rose explores the compelling intertwining of dread and desire, the psychic pull and trauma of domestic life, and resonates at every turn with Oates's mordant humor and her trenchant observation.
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.
“This latest collection... showcases [Oates’s] talent for imbuing mundane events with menace and the kind of irony that springs from narrow brushes with disaster… Oates’ hypnotic prose ensures that readers will be unable to look away.”
“[A] masterfully honed collection of dark tales… With precision and force, the ever-mesmerizing Oates rips open the scrim of ordinariness to expose the chaos that undermines every human notion of control, reason, and sanctuary.”