Short stories by Joyce Carol Oates
Novelist, essayist, and poet Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York. She earned a BA from Syracuse University, where she graduated valedictorian, and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One of the most prolific American writers of the 20th century, Oates counts historical biographies, depictions of working class families, and magical realist Gothic fiction among her oeuvre. She often depicts hardships and violence in American towns, and has received both critical and popular acclaim in her 50-year career. In an interview for the Paris Review, she says: “I try to write books that can be read in one way by a literal-minded reader, and in quite another way by a reader alert to symbolic abbreviation and parodistic elements. And yet, it's the same book—or nearly. A trompe l'oeil, a work of ‘as if.’” Oates is the author of over 70 books, including the novels Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars. (2020); The Book of American Martyrs (2017); The Accursed (2013); The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2007); Blonde (2000), winner of the National Book Award; We Were the Mulvaneys (1996); Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart (1990); You Must Remember This (1987); Bellefleur (1980); and them (1969), winner of the National Book Award. She is also the author of the story collections Beautiful Days (2018) and Dis mem ber (2017). Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Harper’s, and have been widely anthologized. Oates has also published numerous books of poetry, including American Melancholy (2021), Tenderness (1996), The Time Traveler (1989), Love and Its Derangements (1970), and Women In Love and Other Poems (1968). On her poetry, critic Doris Earnshaw said, “Oates’s poetry … forms a body of work on its own merits and does not need to be interpreted only as an adjunct to her novels and short stories. … Poetry’s compressed language releases its power more gradually, but intelligence and verbal brilliance combined with the ‘talk style’ rhythm that is not yet much understood should bring a wider audience to these poems.” Oates is the winner of the O. Henry Award, the National Humanities Medal, the Pivano Award, the Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rae Award for the Short Story, the Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize. She has taught at the University of Detroit, the University of Windsor, and Princeton University, and has edited The Ontario Review. She is currently a visiting distinguished writer-in-residence in the graduate program at New York University. Her papers are held at Syracuse University Libraries.
Listing 31 stories.
A college girl becomes her professor's mistress and moves into his home with his wife and children. After she becomes pregnant, the wife is pushed to make a tragic decision to escape her crumbling marriage and protect the young new mother.
An American art historian attends a diplomat's dinner in Amsterdam where a looming threat of a terrorist attack hangs over the evening.
The granddaughter of a revered Princeton genius reaches out to her family's maid to uncover what terrible secrets tore her family apart and resulted in his lonely death many years ago.
A young woman is returning to her husband and parents in New York, after having left her husband for a brief affair. As her father drives her home and reminisces on the hard work it took to build a life at their farmhouse, she learns that he hasn't told anyone else she's coming home.
A white woman who has recently moved to a rural Southern area with her family experiences a hysterical fear of the neighboring Mexican children.
A new addition to the English department at a university in Canada raises the eyebrows of the staff because of his apparent queerness, and as they strive to uncover his sexuality, their hypocrisy is satirically revealed.
A five-year-old girl and her mother go into hiding with some less-than-savory friends at an upstate New York cabin. While there, the girl sees the ghosts of a past tragedy and, for the first time, confronts the insecurity and inexplicability of her own life.
A divorced mother watches her son unravel with shame while on a visit home from school as he reveals that an older, married woman has expressed sexual interest in him. The mother wavers between whether to intervene, or to sit back and let him handle the consequences of his actions.
In a small town, Rhea and Rhoda, two vivacious, inseparable twins, are found brutally murdered and raped by a developmentally disabled man.
After the loss of their newborn, a man goes on an obsessive house hunt in a new city to prepare for his depressed wife's arrival.