Joyce Carol Oates’s Beautiful Days, a collection of stories, will be published in February. She is currently Distinguished Writer in Residence in the Graduate Program at NYU. (December 2017)

Follow Joyce Carol Oates on Twitter: @JoyceCarolOates.

IN THE REVIEW

The Poet of Freakiness

Carson McCullers, Nyack, New York, 1947; photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Stories, Plays and Other Writings

by Carson McCullers, edited by Carlos L. Dews

Complete Novels

by Carson McCullers, edited by Carlos L. Dews
Too readily classified, or dismissed, as a Southern Gothicist, Carson McCullers (1917–1967) is one of the most radical writers of the American mid-twentieth century. Among, for instance, her female contemporaries, a remarkable gathering that includes Jean Stafford, Mary McCarthy, Eudora Welty, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, and Shirley Jackson, it is …

Postcards from the Edge

Mary Miller, Oxford, Mississippi, April 2015

Always Happy Hour

by Mary Miller

The Last Days of California

by Mary Miller
If the novel, as Stendhal famously said, is a mirror moving along a roadway, a short story might be said to be a glimpse in a rearview mirror, small and intense in concentration, capturing what is fleeting, finite. In particular the subgenre of American short fiction known as minimalism captures …

Shirley Jackson in Love & Death

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

by Ruth Franklin

Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery: A Graphic Adaptation

by Miles Hyman
Characterized by the caprice and fatalism of fairy tales, the fiction of Shirley Jackson exerts a mordant, hypnotic spell. No matter how many times one has read “The Lottery,” Jackson’s most anthologized story and one of the classic works of American gothic literature, one is never quite prepared for its slow-gathering momentum, the way in which what appears initially to be random and casual is revealed to be as inevitable as water circling a drain.

Unflinching About Women

Lucia Berlin, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1963

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories

by Lucia Berlin, edited and with an introduction by Stephen Emerson, and with a foreword by Lydia Davis
What I hope to do is, by the use of intricate detail, to make this woman so believable you can’t help but feel for her. —Lucia Berlin, “Point of View” In “Point of View,” Lucia Berlin’s most complexly imagined short story, a female writer confides in us, her readers, her …

Joan Didion: Risk & Triumph

Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Malibu, California, 1977

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion

by Tracy Daugherty
We are uneasy about a story until we know who is telling it. —Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer It is rare to find a biographer so temperamentally, intellectually, and even stylistically matched with his subject as Tracy Daugherty, author of well-received biographies of Donald Barthelme and Joseph Heller, …

NYR DAILY

The Fighter’s Cruel Art

A still from The Fighter (2010)

The Fighter might more accurately have been titled The Fighter and His Family: it’s a boisterous, brilliantly orchestrated ensemble piece at the paradoxically near-still center of which is an Irish-American boxer (Mark Wahlberg), whose once-promising career, like his grim hometown, Lowell, Massachusetts, is on what appears to be an inevitable downward spiral. Just nominated for seven Academy Awards—including best picture and Christian Bale as supporting actor, the current favorite in that category—the film is based on the life and career of former junior welterweight champion Micky Ward, most famous for his three brutally hard-fought bouts with Arturo Gatti in 2002–2003. It is also a group portrait of working-class Irish-Americans in a blighted, postindustrial landscape: the brawling, clannish, emotionally combustible Ward-Eklund family for whom Micky is the great hope and from whom, if he wants to survive, let alone prevail as a boxer of ambition, he must separate himself.

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