Oates has written a Gothic whodunit loaded with historical wonderings, romantic intrigue psychological pondering and more than a little humor - even a bit of slapstick from Jack London, Upton Sinclair and Teddy Roosevelt, all done with the charm and nuance that make Oates one of the best of the best. “Our lives can only be interpreted in retrospect, yet must be lived from day to day, blindly.”: So says Josiah Slade, the intrepid hero of the tale seeking to avenge the honor of his sister or know the reason why. It is Princeton, New Jersey, 1905, and the new industrialism is creeping up like women’s hemlines when Annabel Slade is carried off by a toad-like yet compelling lothario named Axson Mayte who seems to have cast a spell over the entire community. Mayte takes her to the murky Bog Kingdom where demons dance a merry dance, Annabel suffers and people wonder what happened. Did demons really help found Princeton University? Eventually it is made clear in true melodramatic style that will keep you guessing until the end.— Richard, Pittsburgh
Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton--their daughters begin disappearing. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.
An utterly fresh work from Oates, The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful writer--narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling supernatural elements to stunning effect.
“[The Accursed] is in addition to being a thrilling tale in the best gothic tradition, a lesson in master craftsmanship...The story sprawls, reaches, demands, tears, and shrieks in homage to the traditional gothic, yet with fresh, surprising twists and turns... Oates has given us a brilliantly crafted work .”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)