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.
“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.”