The Accursed.

Author:Oates, Joyce Carol
Position:Book review

By Joyce Carol Oates

Novelist, poet, essayist, and three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Joyce Carol Oates is best known for her novel them (1969), which won the 1970 National Book Award, and for Blonde (2000), among her more than hundred works. She teaches at Princeton University.


THE STORY: In 1984, a historian undertakes a chilling investigation of the "Curse" that afflicted the eminent Slade family of Princeton, New Jersey, in 1905 and 1906. The letters and diaries of the "accursed" conjure up a nightmare of turn-of-the-last-century Princeton society as the Slades are terrorized by demons that abduct a member of the family and drive her loved ones to despair, hallucination, and death. Also entangled in the Curse are such figures as Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, and Upton Sinclair, each troubled by demons of his own. In The Accursed, the supernatural and the pseudo-historical collide at a moment of national anxiety about class, gender, race, and religion.

Ecco. 688 pages. $27.99. ISBN: 9780062231703

Washington Post *****

"With its vast scope, its mingling of comic and tragic tones, its omnivorous gorging on American literature, and especially its complex reflection on the major themes of our history, The Accursed is the kind of outrageous masterpiece only Joyce Carol Oates could create." RON CHARLES

Minneapolis Star Tribune ****

"The plot is like the worst, longest, most incoherent nightmare you ever had. And yet, it's brilliant. Oates' writing shines in every line, capturing the era's florid narrative and vocal styles." PAMELA MILLER

New Times Book Review ****

"Joyce Carol Oates has written what may be the world's first postmodern Gothic novel: E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime set in Dracula's castle. ... These many loosely wrapped Tales of Princeton are feverishly entertaining." STEPHEN KING

USA Today ****

"A dark, sometimes ugly...

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