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The Doll-Master: And Other Tales of Terror
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Grove Atlantic 2016
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Description
This Bram Stoker Award–winning collection is "certain to stick in your mind long after you've turned the last page" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Includes "Big Momma," a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Short Story

Here are six of Joyce Carol Oates's most "frightening—and deeply disturbing—short stories" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In the titular story, a boy becomes obsessed with his cousin's doll after her tragic death. As he grows older, he begins to collect "found dolls" from surrounding neighborhoods . . . each with its own sinister significance.

In "Gun Accident," a teenage girl is delighted to house-sit for her favorite teacher, until an intruder forces his way inside—changing more than one life forever. The collection closes with the taut tale of a mystery bookstore owner whose designs on a rare bookshop in scenic New Hampshire devolve into a menacing game with real-life consequences. "At the heart of each story is a predator-prey relationship, and what makes them so terrifying is that most of us can easily picture ourselves as the prey, at least at some time during our lives" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

"Everything she writes, in whatever genre, has an air of dread, because she deals in vulnerabilities and inevitabilities, in the desperate needs that drive people . . . to their fates. A sense of helplessness is the essence of horror, and Oates conveys that feeling as well as any writer around." —Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review

"One of the stranger parts of the human condition may be our deep fascination, and at times troubling exploration, of the darker aspects of our nature . . . No other author explores the ugly, and at times, blazingly unapologetic underbelly of these impulses quite like Joyce Carol Oates in The Doll-Master." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"In her new collection . . . [Oates] relishes moments of gothic melodrama, while rooting them firmly in grindingly ordinary American lives." —The Guardian

"Oates convincingly demonstrates her mastery of the macabre with this superlative story collection . . . This devil's half-dozen of dread and suspense is a must read." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
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Street Date:
05/03/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802189936
ASIN:
B01AGZ8LOK
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates. (2016). The Doll-Master: And Other Tales of Terror. Grove Atlantic.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates. 2016. The Doll-Master: And Other Tales of Terror. Grove Atlantic.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates, The Doll-Master: And Other Tales of Terror. Grove Atlantic, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Joyce Carol Oates. The Doll-Master: And Other Tales of Terror. Grove Atlantic, 2016.

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:
Jun 03, 2017 05:52:38
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over seventy books encompassing novels, poetry, criticism, story collections, plays, and essays. Her novel Them won the National Book Award in Fiction in 1970. Oates has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for more than three decades and currently holds the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professorship at Princeton University.
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fullDescription
This Bram Stoker Award–winning collection is "certain to stick in your mind long after you've turned the last page" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Includes "Big Momma," a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Short Story

Here are six of Joyce Carol Oates's most "frightening—and deeply disturbing—short stories" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In the titular story, a boy becomes obsessed with his cousin's doll after her tragic death. As he grows older, he begins to collect "found dolls" from surrounding neighborhoods . . . each with its own sinister significance.

In "Gun Accident," a teenage girl is delighted to house-sit for her favorite teacher, until an intruder forces his way inside—changing more than one life forever. The collection closes with the taut tale of a mystery bookstore owner whose designs on a rare bookshop in scenic New Hampshire devolve into a menacing game with real-life consequences. "At the heart of each story is a predator-prey relationship, and what makes them so terrifying is that most of us can easily picture ourselves as the prey, at least at some time during our lives" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

"Everything she writes, in whatever genre, has an air of dread, because she deals in vulnerabilities and inevitabilities, in the desperate needs that drive people . . . to their fates. A sense of helplessness is the essence of horror, and Oates conveys that feeling as well as any writer around." —Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review

"One of the stranger parts of the human condition may be our deep fascination, and at times troubling exploration, of the darker aspects of our nature . . . No other author explores the ugly, and at times, blazingly unapologetic underbelly of these impulses quite like Joyce Carol Oates in The Doll-Master." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"In her new collection . . . [Oates] relishes moments of gothic melodrama, while rooting them firmly in grindingly ordinary American lives." —The Guardian

"Oates convincingly demonstrates her mastery of the macabre with this superlative story collection . . . This devil's half-dozen of dread and suspense is a must read." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 7, 2016
        Oates (Jack of Spades) convincingly demonstrates her mastery of the macabre with this superlative story collection. Though the titular opening tale sets the creepy tone, narrator Robbie, who has a thing for ���found dolls��� as an eighth grader, is odd enough that its denouement is less surprising than it could have been. More effective is the Hitchcockian ���Equatorial,��� in which Mrs. Wheeling, her husband���s third wife, begins to suspect during an excursion to the Galapagos that her scientist spouse may be trying to clear the decks for the fourth Mrs. Wheeling; Oates deftly manipulates the reader through this novella, in part by doling out key bits of backstory that dramatically shift the narrative kaleidoscope. And she truly hits her stride in the stories rooted in apparent normalcy, as in the George Zimmerman riff ���Soldier,��� and ���Big Momma,��� in which angry, unloved 13-year-old Violet ends up taking a horrific turn from the Jersey suburbs into the Twilight Zone. This devil���s half-dozen of dread and suspense is a must read. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 1, 2016
        The prolific Oates (The Man Without a Shadow, 2016, etc.) delivers a sextet of creepy stories to disturb your nights and cast shadows across your days. In the title story, a man waxes eloquent about the doll collection he began keeping as a child when his cousin died of leukemia. Very quickly, it becomes apparent that his "dolls" have a much more sinister significance. In another story, a woman remembers a traumatic time in her past when she was asked to take care of her favorite teacher's house and was instead assaulted and left for dead. A lonely young girl meets a new friend with a big, terrifying secret. A troubled man defends the actions that have landed him in jail as the front page of every newspaper brands him a racist. On holiday in the Galapagos, a wife begins to suspect her dashing older husband is trying to kill her--or is it merely a case of survival of the fittest? In the most effective of these stories, a paranoid narrator, seemingly modeled after so many of Poe's unstable characters, calmly plans and executes a perfect murder--only to have the tables turned. Oates' signature move, at least in these stories, is to end in medias res, or in the middle of things--unlike other authors, who tend to start there. When this works, it causes a lingering sense of dread and discomfort, but sometimes it is merely frustrating, leaving one with a "lady or tiger" sensation. The collection provides some chills and some domestic psychological warfare much in the classic vein of Ruth Rendell, but it does feel a bit uneven and underdeveloped. What it lacks: deep, well-plumbed explorations of truly troubled and disturbing psyches. For readers who like the frisson of psychological horror without too much commitment.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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

        September 1, 2016

        The wonderfully old-fashioned subtitle of this collection brings to mind Edgar Allan Poe and other masters of supernatural horror, and indeed the title story was originally published in a collection by fantasy and horror editor Ellen Datlow. However, these six entries are terrifying in their utter mundanity. "The Doll-Master" contains a twist that this review won't reveal, while other pieces include a deep dive into the psychology of a George Zimmerma-like character (recalling the similarly timely themes of Oates's recent novel The Sacrifice); a gut-wrenching account by a young girl tasked to house-sit for her favorite teacher, only to be terrorized by her cousin; and a deadly accurate portrayal of a very lonely girl who simply befriends the wrong family. The terrors all end in death, nearly all of which take place just after the end of the story, allowing Oates to focus on the psychology of killers, victims, and bystanders in the moments when a different outcome is still possible, if not probable. Few readers will find these offerings scary in the traditional sense, but they invoke a kind of primal dread that can be even more terrifying. VERDICT Another fantastic anthology from Oates-terrifying and realistic at the same time and featuring some of her most teen-centric characters in years. Those who need encouragement to read this collection can be directed to the three selections with youthful protagonists, but all six should grip the imagination of any fan of crime and murder.-Mark Flowers, Rio Vista Library, CA

        Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2016
        In this collection of six previously published stories, Oates has created a book of intense tales filled with unreliable narrators. Using an economy of words to produce an overflow of feelingsin particular, extreme unease and tensionshe ropes readers in and takes them on a dark and twisted ride before pulling the rug out from under them, over and over again. Readers may start to see the twists coming, but that is not her purpose, obscuring the denouement. Rather, these stories are all about the anxiety, tension, and moodand the extremely damaged, unlikable characters within. When a story ends, one is left both gasping for air and rushing to turn the page to begin the next story. The first, The Doll-Master, may be the most predictable of the bunch, but the creepy feeling it produces lingers, casting an anxious shadow over the entire collection. Stories four and five, Equatorial and Big Mama, build the collection to an intense climax, with Big Mama in particular proving that Oates can be the best macabre writer in the world when she wants to be. The final story, Mystery Inc., a love letter to crime fiction and bookselling that could be the evil twin of 2014's The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, makes for a fun and unsettling conclusion. This is a collection with wide appeal, especially for fans of compelling and intense psychological suspense as found in the stories of Shirley Jackson or Gillian Flynn.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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

        December 1, 2016

        This collection of disturbing stories will send chills up readers' spines and have them looking over their shoulders. Each of the tales has its own style, but all shine a light into the dark corners of humanity. (http: //ow.ly/Saef305MDNh)-Mark Flowers, Rio Vista Library, CA

        Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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This Bram Stoker Award–winning collection is "certain to stick in your mind long after you've turned the last page" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Includes "Big Momma," a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Short Story

Here are six of Joyce Carol Oates's most "frightening—and deeply disturbing—short stories" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In the titular story, a boy becomes obsessed with his cousin's doll after her tragic death. As he grows older, he begins to collect "found dolls" from surrounding neighborhoods . . . each with its own sinister significance.

In "Gun Accident," a teenage girl is delighted to house-sit for her favorite teacher, until an intruder forces his way inside—changing more than one life forever. The collection closes with the taut tale of a mystery bookstore owner whose designs on a rare bookshop in scenic New Hampshire devolve into a menacing game...
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