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Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense
2018
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"The book opens with a woman, naked except for her high-heeled shoes, seated in front of the window in an apartment she cannot, on her own, afford. In this exquisitely tense narrative reimagining of Edward Hopper's Eleven A.M., 1926, the reader enters the minds of both the woman and her married lover, each consumed by alternating thoughts of disgust and arousal, as he rushes, amorously, murderously, to her door. In "The Long-Legged Girl," an aging, jealous wife crafts an unusual game of Russian roulette involving a pair of Wedgewood teacups, a strong Bengal brew, and a lethal concoction of medicine. Who will drink from the wrong cup, the wife or the dance student she believes to be her husband's latest conquest? In "The Sign of the Beast," when a former Sunday school teacher's corpse turns up, the blighted adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder--but is he really responsible? Another young outsider, Horace Phineas Love, Jr., is haunted by apparitions at the very edge of the spectrum of visibility after the death of his tortured father in "Night-Gaunts," a fantastic ode to H.P. Lovecraft. Reveling in the uncanny and richly in conversation with other creative minds, Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense stands at the crossroads of sex, violence, and longing--and asks us to interrogate the intersection of these impulses within ourselves"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

An eerie story collection by the award-winning author of We Were the Mulvaneys explores the deepest sources of disturbed human minds with such entries as "The Long-Legged Girl" and "The Sign of the Beast." - (Baker & Taylor)

A collection of short stories includes "The Sign of the Beast," in which a former Sunday school teacher's corpse turns up and an adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder. - (Baker & Taylor)

In the title story of her taut new fiction collection, Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense, Joyce Carol Oates writes: Life was not of the surface like the glossy skin of an apple, but deep inside the fruit where seeds are harbored. There is no writer more capable of picking out those seeds and exposing all their secret tastes and poisons than Oates herself—as brilliantly demonstrated in these six stories.

The book opens with a woman, naked except for her high-heeled shoes, seated in front of the window in an apartment she cannot, on her own, afford. In this exquisitely tense narrative reimagining of Edward Hopper’s Eleven A.M., 1926, the reader enters the minds of both the woman and her married lover, each consumed by alternating thoughts of disgust and arousal, as he rushes, amorously, murderously, to her door. In “The Long-Legged Girl,” an aging, jealous wife crafts an unusual game of Russian roulette involving a pair of Wedgewood teacups, a strong Bengal brew, and a lethal concoction of medicine. Who will drink from the wrong cup, the wife or the dance student she believes to be her husband’s latest conquest? In “The Sign of the Beast,” when a former Sunday school teacher’s corpse turns up, the blighted adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder—but is he really responsible? Another young outsider, Horace Phineas Love, Jr., is haunted by apparitions at the very edge of the spectrum of visibility after the death of his tortured father in “Night-Gaunts,” a fantastic ode to H.P. Lovecraft.

Reveling in the uncanny and richly in conversation with other creative minds, Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense stands at the crossroads of sex, violence, and longing—and asks us to interrogate the intersection of these impulses within ourselves. - (Perseus Publishing)

From a master “mind reader who writes psychological horror stories about seriously disturbed minds” (New York Times Book Review), this gorgeously eerie story collection explores the deepest entwinings of lust and repulsion, creation and dissolution, Eros and Thanatos - (Perseus Publishing)

Author Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of such national bestsellers as The Falls, Blonde, and We Were the Mulvaneys. Her other titles for The Mysterious Press include DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense, which includes the Bram Stoker Award-winning story “The Crawl Space”; The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection; and Jack of Spades. She is the recipient of the National Book Award for them and the 2010 President’s National Humanities Medal. - (Perseus Publishing)

First Chapter or Excerpt
From “The Woman in the Window”

What’s the time? Eleven A.M.

He will be late coming to her. Always he is late coming to her.

At the corner of Lexington and Thirty-seventh. Headed south.

The one with the dark fedora, camel’s-hair coat. Whistling thinly through his teeth. Not a tall man though he gives that impression. Not a large man but he won’t give way if there’s another pedestrian in his path.

Excuse me, mister! Look where the hell you’re going.

Doesn’t break his stride. Only partially conscious of his surroundings.

Face shut up tight. Jaws clenched.

Murder rushing to happen.

The woman in the window, he likes to imagine her.

He has stood on the sidewalk three floors below. He has counted the windows of the brownstone. Knows which one is hers.

After dark, the lighted interior reflected against the blind makes of the blind a translucent skin.

When he leaves her. Or, before he comes to her.

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

In her latest "tales of suspense" collection, following DIS MEM BER (2017), Oates dramatizes mysteries of the mind, her forte. An expert in crafting escalating inner monologues as her narrators struggle against malevolent circumstances and the mental aberrations trauma engenders, Oates continues her audacious inquiry into sexual terrors in six substantial, insightful, and creepy stories. Overweight, aging, boozy New England faculty wife Elinor decides to take revenge, but only in the fairest way possible, against the latest beautiful "long-legged girl" entrancing her husband. In "Sign of the Beast," young Howard, husky, clumsy, and tagged with a birthmark on his cheek, is appalled and aroused by his wildly inappropriate Sunday-school teacher, and when her body is found, his reaction shocks everyone. Oates unites a vulnerable misfit and a mad scientist in "The Experimental Subject," a grotesque tale with a redemptive twist. The intriguing title tale is a sensitive, clever, and affecting tribute to horror master H. P. Lovecraft, who coined "night-gaunts" to describe the eerie creatures that plagued him. Oates' spookiness is visceral, psychologically involving, and socially astute. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

From a jealous wife's playing Russian roulette with Wedgewood teacups to a visualization of Edward Hopper's Eleven A.M., 1926: six creepy stories.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

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