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The Accursed
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Published:
HarperAudio 2013
Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation)—an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man–a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.

When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain–all plagued by "accursed" visions.

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.

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Street Date:
03/05/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062243676
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates. (2013). The Accursed. Unabridged HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates. 2013. The Accursed. HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates, The Accursed. HarperAudio, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates. The Accursed. Unabridged HarperAudio, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Sep 24, 2020 11:25:29
Date Updated:
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        Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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HarperAudio
publishDate
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edition
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title
The Accursed
fullDescription

A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation)—an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man–a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.

When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain–all plagued by "accursed" visions.

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.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: Set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Princeton, Oates's mystery features famous real-life people including Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, and Samuel Clemens. Dabbling in the occult, avoiding prejudice, and searching for the truth are three of the themes of this historical work. Grover Gardner narrates the story in crisp, practiced tones. He flawlessly weaves narrative with essential details that flesh out the facts or elucidate minutiae. Is there one story or many in this mixture of history and fiction? Gardner takes all the jarring asides in stride, using droll tones to portray the upper crust and their infatuations. Listeners are challenged to follow the complex plot, or rather plots, which take many hours to merge and reveal themselves. M.B.K. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from November 5, 2012
        Oates has published more than enough books to take risks, and her newest is exactly that: first drafted in the early 1980s, then set aside, the novel is, in addition to being a thrilling tale in the best gothic tradition, a lesson in master craftsmanship. Distilled, the plot is about a 14-month curse manifesting in Princeton, N.J., from 1905 to 1906, affecting the town's elite, including the prominent Slades of Crosswicks and Woodrow Wilson, the president of Princeton University. After Annabel Slade is strangely drawn out of the church during her wedding, an escalating series of violence and madness based in secrets and hypocrisy is unleashed in the community. This story has vampires, demons, angels, murder, lynching, beatings, rape, sex, parallel worlds,, Antarctic voyages, socialism, sexism, racism, paranoia, gossip, spiritualism, and escalating insanity. Oates uses the Homeric ring structure, and her mysterious narrator takes frequent tangents, offering backstories, side stories, footnotes, and a hilarious, subtly satirical chapter on the different-colored diaries and lacquered boxes providing his "sources." The story sprawls, reaches, demands, tears, and shrieks in homage to the traditional gothic, yet with fresh, surprising twists and turns. Oates weaves historical figures throughout, grounding the narrative in a quasi-familiar reality without losing a "through the looking-glass" surrealism. The cause of the curse is not much of a surprise, but the way it's broken is both traditionally mythic and satisfying. Oates has given us a brilliantly crafted work that refreshes the overworked tradition. The author's rage at social injustices and the horrific "cures" for invalids boil beneath the surface; she's skilled enough to let them fuel the fury without erupting into fire. Take on this 700-page behemoth with an open mind, and hang on for the ride. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins and Assoc.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2013

        Oates's (Bellefleur; My Heart Laid Bare) latest gothic saga is a mix of horror and social history in the genteel community of Princeton, NJ, during the early 1900s. The town's refined inhabitants are beset by strange events among their circle of family and friends. The disappearance of a bride with a shady European prince immediately after her wedding ceremony to an army lieutenant leads her brother to bizarre places and people as he searches for her. Princeton's residents experience peculiar episodes and exhibit odd behaviors, and it's not clear if the cause is supernatural or psychological. Interspersed throughout these "unspeakable" horrors is a personal history of the progressive movement, primarily through fictional accounts of Upton Sinclair and Woodrow Wilson. Narrator Grover Gardner (recipient of AudioFile's "Best Voices of the Century" award and more than 20 Earphone Awards) reads the text with the somber tone and measured pace it deserves. VERDICT Recommended for fans of Oates's sagas, especially those who appreciate a leisurely introduction to horror. ["Though the mix of genres might be too rich for some readers and the happy ending too manufactured for others, this is a smart and relentlessly absorbing read," read the review of the Ecco: HarperCollins hc, LJ 11/15/12.--Ed.]--Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from January 15, 2013
        Oates (Sourland, 2010, etc.) finishes up a big novel begun years before--and it's a keeper. If the devil were to come for a visit, a la The Master and Margarita, where would he turn up first? You might not guess Princeton, N.J., long Oates' domicile, but there "the Curse" shows up, first in the spring of 1905, then in June, on "the disastrous morning of Annabel Slade's wedding." No slashing ensues, no pea-green vomiting; instead, the good citizens of Princeton steadily turn inward and against each other, the veneer of civilization swiftly flaking off on the edge of the wilderness within us and, for that matter, just outside Princeton. Woodrow Wilson might have said it differently when he reflected on his native Virginia: "The defeat of the Confederacy was the defeat of--a way of civilization that was superior to its conqueror's." It just could be that the devil's civilization is superior to that of America in the days of the Great White Fleet and Jim Crow, for Wilson--a central figure in the novel and then-president of Princeton University--is no friend to the little people. But then, none of Oates' male characters--some of them writers such as Mark Twain and Jack London, others politicos such as Grover Cleveland, still others academics plotting against the upstart Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its "devilish business"--are quite good guys: Representatives of the patriarchy, they bear its original sin. The Curse is the one of past crimes meeting the future, perhaps; it is as much psychological as real, though Oates takes pains to invest plenty of reality in it. Carefully and densely plotted, chockablock with twists and turns and fleeting characters, her novel offers a satisfying modern rejoinder to the best of M.R. James--and perhaps even Henry James. Though it requires some work and has a wintry feel to it, it's oddly entertaining, as a good supernatural yarn should be.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from December 15, 2012
        Soon after arriving at Princeton University, where she continues to teach, Oates completed Bellefleur (1980), launching a series of sly gothic novels. One manuscript, The Crosswicks Horror, was left unfinished, and Oates has now resurrected it as a lush, arch, and blistering fusion of historical fact, supernatural mystery, and devilish social commentary. High-strung and ambitious Woodrow Wilson is the president of Princeton. Anxious over festering conflicts and appalled by what he learns about his distant relative and prot'g' after the nearby lynching of an African American man and his pregnant sister, Wilson seeks advice from retired Reverend Winslow Slade, who would rather think about the upcoming wedding of his granddaughter, Annabel. But this fair maiden is in danger of falling under the spell of a handsome stranger with otherworldly eyes. As an elite WASP enclave finds itself caught in the grip of inexplicable terror, readers will be bewitched by a fantastically dramatic, supremely imaginative plot rife with ghosts, vampires, demons, and human folly. Oates brings her nightshade humor and extraordinary fluency in eroticism and violence, American history and literature (her magnetizing characters include Mark Twain, Jack London, and Upton Sinclair) to this piercing novel of the devastating toll of repression and prejudice, sexism and class warfare. A diabolically enthralling and subversive literary mash-up. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Propelled by a lavish national tour and multimedia campaign, The Accursed is destined to be one of Oates' most widely appealing and avidly read novels.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 29, 2013
        Clocking in at a whopping 23 hours, this sweeping narrative set at the turn of the 20th century, tells the tale of a town in New Jersey where evil seems to have been birthed and is wreaking havoc: a curse, disappearances, abduction, and even an appearance by a man who might be the devil himself. Seasoned narrator Grover Gardner delivers a compelling performance and an enjoyable listen from start to finish. Gardner���s delivery is well paced and thoughtful; his shifts in tone occur just at the right moments and keep listeners on their toes. Though the book���s plot becomes a bit confusing in the middle to latter portion of the novel, Gardner pulls off an entertaining performance���and even voices Grover Cleveland and other historical figures. All in all, a long and winding road made enjoyable by a spirited performer. A HarperLuxe paperback.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2012

        Crossing history and needling social commentary with folklore and Grand Guignol horror, Oates offers a grandly over-the-top tale. Narrated at some remove by a wasp-tongued historian who pretends objectivity, it opens with Annabel, granddaughter of the estimable clergyman Winslow Slade, meeting a seductive if slightly menacing man in the family garden in Princeton, NJ. Later, at a fete at the sumptuous "cottage" her family is bestowing upon Annabel and her chilly military fiance, former President Grover Cleveland collapses at the (presumed) sight of his dead daughter's ghost. When Annabel is lured from the altar by her admirer, who just might be the Devil, it seems that a curse has been laid upon the family and their upper-crust associates, who disdain upstart Princeton president Woodrow Wilson and don't even know that socialist author Upton Sinclair, living nearby, exists. As deaths occur and Annabel's brother, Josiah, hunts for her while coming into full rebellion against his family, we are taken on a tour of hell. VERDICT Though the mix of genres might be too rich for some readers and the happy ending too manufactured for others, this is a smart and relentlessly absorbing read. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/10/12.]--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 1, 2012

        Historical fiction with a spooky Oatesian twist: at the turn of the 20th century, strange things start happening in peaceful, polished Princeton, NJ. Folks dream about vampires, the daughters of the town's classiest families start vanishing, and a bride-to-be runs away with a vaguely menacing European, presumably a prince and possibly the Devil. As her brother gives chase, he encounters characters from former President Grover Cleveland and future President Woodrow Wilson to authors like Upton Sinclair, all cursed with dark visions. Do these visions hint at personal or collective anguish? With a 100,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation)—an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man–a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld...

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