Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Doll-Master

The Doll-Master by Joyce Carol Oates
Grove/Atlantic: 5/3/16
eBook review copy; 304 pages
ISBN-13: 9780802124883

The Doll-Master by Joyce Carol Oates is a highly recommended collection of six short stories.  The stories in this collection have recently been published in other places and have been gathered together for this book. All of the stories deal with psychological terror and suspense, of a disquieting and disturbing variety, rather than a horrific gore-fest.

The six stories include:
The Doll-Master: A man began a doll collection as a child when his cousin died of leukemia.
Soldier: A man is on trial for shooting a teenager.
Gun Accident: Hanna house sits for a teacher.
Big Momma: A girl thinks she likes another family better than her own.
Equatorial: A woman suspects her husband wants to get rid of her.
Mystery, Inc.: A young man tries to buy up a bookstore.

The stories were uneven for me - while I liked most of them to various degrees, I didn't care for Soldier at all.

As mentioned by others, Oates'
signature move is to end in medias res, or in the middle of things. This abruptly ending or stopping the story with no resolution will either work for you or it won't - and it may depend upon the individual story. But, Oates is an incredibly gifted writer, with the ability to establish clear settings and great character development, and so this collection is worth your time if it only serves as a way to see if you like her short stories.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of  Grove/Atlantic for review purposes.

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