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Sourland Stories

bethree5 Jul 26, 2011 7:36 PM
Posted in group: Tone Clusters: The Joyce Carol Oates Discussion Group
Sharing a review of this book I left at "":

OK, I revised it from 5 to 4 stars. Only because I think the "Amputee"
story is a tough read, & perhaps should have been placed a bit further
along-- after you've already been hooked & are game to see this book
all the way through. It's an ugly story, but worth reading just for
the insight into the character provided on the final page.

I so disagree with reviewers who've said the collection is 'all about'
widows, or missing father figures etc. There are 16 stories here which
feature a wide variety of characters encountering difficult and
striking life situations; stark vulnerability is, as always in Oates
colletions, leavened with hilarious sarcasm and poignant beauty. That
her realism feels tough and often scathing says so much more about our
blindered fantasies than it does about some imagined hangups of the

Who ya gonna call? Who else will counter our illusions? Who else will
tell us more about the stuff we saw, slant-eyed, as a kid, & quickly
told ourselves "no, that can't happen in 'my' world."

The older I get, the quicker I 'get' every JCO story. I'm thinking,
maybe I'd better go back and re-read the late '60's-early-'70's
stories that I felt (at the time) left me hanging.