Beasts (Otto Penzler Books)

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9780786711031: Beasts (Otto Penzler Books)
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A young woman tumbles into a nightmare of decadent desire and corrupted innocence in a superb novella of suspense from National Book Award–winner Joyce Carol Oates. Art and arson, the poetry of D. H. Lawrence and pulp pornography, hero-worship and sexual debasement, totems and taboos mix and mutate into a startling, suspenseful tale of how a sunny New England college campus descends into a lurid nightmare. "A small gem.... Oates does not disappoint, nor does she waste a word."—The Washington Post Book World Oates often takes on sensational subject matter ... yet rarely has she done so with the churningly quiet understatement of ... Beasts."—Los Angeles Times "A cunning fusion of Gothic romance and psychological horror story, and one of her best recent books."—Kirkus Reviews "Oates's new novel is a slim one, but it packs a serious punch."—Associated Press "Delicious ... Beasts is something of a jeu d'esprit noir.... The novella length is exactly right for it."—The New York Review of Books

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Review:

Penzler Pick, January 2002: OK, OK. I know it looks like a conflict of interest, or favoritism, or nepotism, or some -ism or another that appears to be unethical. But it's not. Honestly.

Since I've been creating "Penzler's Picks" for Amazon.com I've never reviewed any of the books I've published under my imprint at Carroll & Graf--until now. I've been tempted many times, for the obvious reason that, if I like a book enough to publish it, I'd like it well enough to recommend it. But I've resisted for the reason noted above.

My affection for and admiration of Beasts, however, is so enormous that I just can't help myself. I've been an admirer of Joyce Carol Oates for longer than I care to admit. Indeed, I raved about Blonde in these pages long before it was nominated for a National Book Award (and should have won, in my opinion).

Beasts is a little jewel of a book, only 138 pages. Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is a perfect gem, and so are Steinbeck's The Red Pony, and James Ellroy's Dick Contino's Blues, and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw; the short novel is capable of being one of an author's masterpieces. Short novels, or novellas, allow for the author to develop characters more fully than is possible in a short story, yet constrict them enough to maintain a single mood, or tone, throughout the entire book, which might easily become oppressive in a longer work.

Set in an apparently idyllic New England college town, Beasts is the story of Gillian Brauer, a student who falls in love with her professor, his Bohemian lifestyle, and anti-establishment attitudes, and what happens when she falls under his spell.

Knowing that other girls preceded her does not deter Gillian from becoming part of the household of Professor Harrow and his larger-than-life wife, Dorcas, the outrageous sculptress of shocking wooden totems. Drawn into their life, Gillian soon becomes a helpless pawn, a victim of her own passions and those of her mentors. Or does she? Sometimes even the most seemingly powerless prey can surprise a predator.

Savor every word of this little masterpiece, as it is unlikely that you will read anything to equal it for a long, long time. --Otto Penzler

About the Author:

Joyce Carol Oates, one of America's most honoured writers, is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection WE WERE THE MULVANEYS, such critically praised novels as BLONDE, BROKE HEART BLUES, BLACK WATER, and MIDDLE AGE. She has won the National Book Award for THEM, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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9780786708963: Beasts

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ISBN 10:  0786708964 ISBN 13:  9780786708963
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Book Description Avalon Travel Publishing, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A young woman tumbles into a nightmare of decadent desire and corrupted innocence in a superb novella of suspense from National Book Award-winner Joyce Carol Oates. Art and arson, the poetry of D. H. Lawrence and pulp pornography, hero-worship and sexual debasement, totems and taboos mix and mutate into a startling, suspenseful tale of how a sunny New England college campus descends into a lurid nightmare. A small gem. Oates does not disappoint, nor does she waste a word. ,The Washington Post Book World Oates often takes on sensational subject matter . yet rarely has she done so with the churningly quiet understatement of . Beasts. ,Los Angeles Times A cunning fusion of Gothic romance and psychological horror story, and one of her best recent books. ,Kirkus Reviews Oates s new novel is a slim one, but it packs a serious punch. ,Associated Press Delicious . Beasts is something of a jeu d esprit noir. The novella length is exactly right for it. ,The New York Review of Books. Seller Inventory # AAS9780786711031

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