I don’t know how to give a Joyce Carol Oates book less than five stars. I will freely admit I am eternally caught in her web. Just in time for October, JCO has released another set of disturbing short stories that you should definitely add to that shelf you have with Poe, JCO, and Helen Oyeyemi (just me?).
A quick rundown of each story, in case you’d like to pick and choose:
“The Doll-Master” is the story of a young man who likes to collect what he calls “found dolls,” hiding them in his parent’s garage. As he gets older his obsession with the dolls grows deeper.
“Soldier” is the story of a young man who shoots an unarmed black man in self-defense. Or is it?
“Gun Accident: An Investigation” is about the experiences of a young girl who is involved in a violent home invasion while taking care of a beloved teacher’s house.
“Equatorial” is the story of a wife traveling with her energetic older husband in the Galapagos. She begins to suspect that he is attempting to kill her, recounting moments throughout their marriage that have led to her present danger.
“Big Momma” is about a strange family out in the woods that takes in strays, and possibly feeds them to a giant snake.
“Mystery, Inc” (my personal favorite) is about a man who owns a small empire of mystery-themed bookstores in New England. He decides he wants to acquire a new bookstore and will go to any length to get that bookstore- but is he the predator or the prey?