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Evil Eye by [Oates, Joyce Carol]
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Evil Eye Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Review

'A writer of extraordinary strengths' Guardian.

'If the phrase 'woman of letters' existed, Joyce Carol Oates would be, foremost in this country, entitled to it' John Updike.

'This writer is a phenomenon' Daily Mail.

'Oates is a brilliant, unstoppable writing-machine and this collection of stories is Oates at her best – spare, swift, beautifully observed and quietly lethal' The Times.

'Extremely compelling... we cannot look away no matter how gruesome the sight' Spectator.

'Readable but troubling tales ... Oates unnerves to the last' The Independent.

'A creepy, macabre thrill from start to finish ... a spine-chilling, hair-raising denouement of amazing power. Terrific stuff' Independent on Sunday.

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over 70 works and the winner of a host of prizes including the National Book Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Oates is Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 694 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (19 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KFDKT1M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book received rave reviews in the Independent. So I was really happy to buy it instantly on Amazon for my tablet. Unfortunately the stories were a bit of a let down. They seemed to be stories which I'd heard before. None of them were memorable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These intense stories showcase the often overlooked long short story genre - each standing alone, each staying with you long after the end.
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Although well written I found this book very overrated. I am an avid reader and lover of crime and the occult and this book just didn't 'haunt' as well as one was lead to believe it would. Disappointing if I'm honest!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evil Eye, Joyce Carol Oates 4 Aug. 2013
By thewanderingjew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A prolific writer, her fans will love this latest work. Her style of writing uses no contrivances to make her point. The plots are simple, but they take the imagination places that one does not see coming, that one does not expect. Oates des not exaggerate ideas to grab your interest, she merely weaves a tale that, while plausible, is also almost unbearable, bordering on revolting and reprehensible sometimes, and yet, she makes it possible to read the stories without getting up and tossing the book in disgust.

The four novellas are related in a spare prose that leaves nothing to the imagination and yet takes creativity to its limits with each story getting more and more grotesque and bizarre, yet each one is, sadly, in the realm of possibility. Simply using her gift, her ability to mold language into the shape she desires, she has constructed four short works about dysfunctional relationships and dysfunctional people, who are sometimes products of their environments, their relationships and even sometimes, simply products of their own evil nature. It is about the inability of people to either communicate accurately or to comprehend what someone is really communicating to them. They put a spin on things that puts them in the best light, rather than the harsh light of reality. They live in a world of ambiguity, fantasy, rather than clarity. Are they sane or insane? Are they simply unhappy, lost souls, who are products of their environments, innocent, in the end, of all wrongdoing and inappropriate thought? Are things what they actually seem to be? Can the characters trust what they see, or more accurately, what they think they see and surmise about each other? Is what appears to be the truth actually the truth or just perception?

Oates spotlights the inability of people to deal directly with issues, the tendency to run from the truth and try to hide from it or hide it from the outside world. The stories are all about relationships and they question which of the partners is the more "broken" in each of the relationships. Sometimes, both are broken beyond repair. Sometimes it is difficult to tell who has lost touch and who is living in reality. However, all of the stories are about diabolical desires for someone's deep discomfort or ultimate demise. In all of the stories, the need to have authority is key, the men believe themselves to be the stronger, the more righteous, and the one that should be in charge, with or without fact-based reasons. This latest book gets its title from the first of its four novellas, actually, the one that is least horrific. With each novella, the malevolence grows.

In "Evil Eye", it is easy to conceive of the relationship between Marianna and her three decades younger husband, Austin. She is an insecure young woman, saddened and deeply troubled by the loss of her parents and is having difficulty coping. He is a man, well-known, worldly and very capable in public life, who needs to be adored, and she fits the bill. He seems to be very authoritarian. Unfortunately, as their relationship grows, so does her discomfort with him. The tale leaves the reader with the distinct question in their mind about who is losing their sanity, Marianna or her husband? Whose imagination and personality is running wild and out of hand? Is the husband the great manipulator she believes or is her mind perceiving things that are pure fantasy?

"So Near, Anytime, Always", begins with another seemingly innocent and insecure young, woman. Lizbeth meets Desmond at the public library. He is handsome, well dressed and seems older and wiser than she. She has never had a relationship or a boyfriend, and she is so flattered when he waits outside the library for her that she pursues a friendship with him, which as it develops, veers into dangerous territory that she feels she cannot admit to herself or her family. Des appears to be from an upper class family of good background, but is kind of secretive and controlling. What does he really feel for her, she wonders, as he begins to appear more and more in the shadows, even as she wants to distance herself from him? What kind of person is he, really? Will she escape from his hold on her or will he stay with her in her memory, forever altering the way she lives her life?

"The Execution" is about a terribly maladjusted young adult, emotionally and mentally disturbed his whole life, coddled by a too liberal system that tries to understand and explain away the behavior rather than comprehend the nature of the mental illness, rather than facing it, instead running away, hiding from it until the world runs headlong into a possibly preventable tragic event which exhibits the results of their stupidity, when he goes mad and commits a heinous crime! This story is really about madness, about viewing the world through a false lens and interpreting events incorrectly because of an inability to process information properly. It too, is about the madness in men, their frailty and foolishness, their need for control, their need to be right, an inability to see their own faults and wrong doing. It is also about the unrealistic, weak behavior of some women, who show no common sense, who keep secrets when they should share their lives openly in order to protect someone undeserved and be maternal in the face of danger, and instead, in trying to avoid the consequences of disclosure, they later suffer them. I was left wondering if Bart Hansen was stuck in an Oedipal conflict, competing with his father for authority and control, and losing in that effort, also losing his hold on reality?

In the fourth and final novella, "The Flatbed" we meet a young woman, Cielle, (Cecilia) imagining someone referred to as "G", chained to a flatbed truck, on his way to the slaughterhouse. She wonders if the man knows that he is destined to die? She is in a relationship with a man who is her superior (as in all the other novellas, the woman is weaker), though not her boss, referred to as "N". They work together. She thinks she loves this man, years older than she, and he loves her. She, however, is frigid and trembles, shivers, shakes and cannot consummate the act of lovemaking or even tolerate an internal exam. He, in his love and devotion to her insists that she tells him her secret, what is terrifying her, what is holding her back from being in a normal relationship? He is kind to her, tries to be patient and understanding, but he says he must know her secret, but can she tell? She has never told anyone that something shameful happened to her as a child, something that she is so ashamed of it prevents her from being in a healthy relationship or even to have a complete physical exam with a doctor. In the end, Cecelia and "N", now have a different secret that they can never tell.

This author is a genius at creating mystery and suspense in somewhat "unbelievable" narratives, that incredibly, become believable narratives. The prose is simple, readable and magnetic. It almost forcibly grips and captures the reader's complete attention and imagination. In the end, all of the stories are about destructive behavior, violent behavior or thoughts, violence which, although it begins in fantasy, often becomes reality, violence that if the symptoms of these dysfunctional people were recognized and dealt with more realistically, in a more grounded, sensible way, treating them rather than excusing them, might never have occurred and the characters might just have gone on to lead happy, successful and fruitful lives.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant vintage Oates! 25 May 2015
By marcia riley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished a book of her short stories that I didn't like because they were all unresolved, as so many short stories are. However I loved these 4 novellas; all had resolutions, as do, of course, her great novels.

Joyce Carol Oates is definitely one of the top ten novelists of the 20th (and now 21st) century: Great intelligence, great imagination and great story-telling ability. Having all three is rare indeed.

I only wish her books were kindle specials more often.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd file this book on the Odd and Bizarre shelf. Mysterious and intriguing. 29 Nov. 2013
By Dog Brindle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Four believable horror stories, of love/life, everything, all gone wrong. The type of stories you've heard about but never would have experienced, hopefully. They are real life horror situations, no matter what you might want to believe.

Infact, stories most people don't even want to talk about let alone to acknowledge it exists. Incest, child molestation, and suicide. Stuff that make your skin crawl.

I picked this book because of it's cover, it caught my eye. Finding out later that two of the novellas contain characters with one eye. It really doesn't explain why. I guess one of those inside jokes, you'd have to be there, played by the writer. Don't expect any conclusions to these stories because there isn't any. You just know life carries on.

The book started slow, with the Evil Eye Novella. I read it and wasn't that impressed but instead of not finishing, I'm glad I stuck with it and finished to the end. Then I reread the first chapter and it clicked. I was left wanting more.

All of them, made be gasp, like a little old lady.

I give this book 5 stars. *****

I loved it.

I'd file this book on the Odd and Bizarre shelf. Mysterious and intriguing.

Michael Estey
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easy mystery reading! 10 May 2014
By Bonnie Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i chose this rating because it was a very good and easy reading for a person who is unable to read alot espescially those who have short term memory. I hope to see more of her works in short stories. Also i can re-read it again because you can choose your favorite story and not go thru the entire novel to get to the ending.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stories that make sense 2 Jan. 2014
By LF - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These stories are dark and disturbing, but compelling and beautifully written. Unlike some modern fiction, each story tells an interesting, insightful, complete story.
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