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Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong…

Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong

by Joyce Carol Oates

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As the sub-title says, these are four novellas of love gone wrong. The first novella, “Evil Eye”, focuses on a nazar, which is a talisman used to ward off the evil eye. Mariana is a shy, timid young woman who is the newly wedded fourth wife of Austin Mohr. Austin is 25 years old than Mariana and his adoration of her seems to be wearing off and his impatience growing. He announces that his first wife, Ines, will be coming to visit. Austin and Ines have a terrible secret that Ines wishes to confide to Mariana. Can their marriage survive this revelation?

The second novella, “So Near Anytime Always”, involves another shy young woman, Lizbeth, this one a teenager who falls for a new young man in the area, Desmond. But Desmond has a dark side that Lizbeth isn’t at first aware of.

In “The Execution”, college student Bert Hansen has taken too many wrong turns during his life. He blames his father for never being supportive and now his mother also seems to have given up on him. Bert plots his evil revenge on both his hated father and his loving mother.

The last novella is “The Flatbed”. Cecilia has never been able to have a normal sexual relationship due to the abuse she sustained as a child. The new man in her life thinks revenge will give the help that Cecilia needs to overcome her issues.

Joyce Carol Oates has long been a favorite author of mine. She’s an expert at pulling her readers in right at the start of her stories and then gradually leading them up to the point where you start to realize that something is horribly wrong. She would have been such a wonderful writer for the old TV series, “The Twilight Zone”. I had chills through all four of these tales and highly recommend them. ( )
  hubblegal | Jan 22, 2017 |
I've never been a huge fan of short story anthologies, so I approached this work by one of my authors with some hesitation. Oates delivered in a big way. I wouldn't put "Evil Eye" in the same category as "Black Water" or even "Zombie," but this creepy collection of tales that chronicle twisted relationships kept my interest from start to finish. As always, Oates' narratives are riveting and dominated (pun intended) by memorable characters. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Nov 19, 2016 |
Here are four tightly written tales of twisted relationships. Oates has a way of building tension and unease that's unsurpassed. That said, she's a literary, not a horror writer. Her writing can require the reader to pitch in and do a little work - Oates doesn't spell out everything. If you want an unflinching look at the dark side of human nature - homicidal rage, denial, etc., Oates' work is first-rate. ( )
  AnnAnderson | Jun 25, 2016 |
I picked this up in a hurry and was oh so glad I did. A small collection of Neat, Tidy and Quirky stories, which I never paused at any time to guess where the stories were going. Now having finished them they urge me on to read more of her other books; all of which seem to be further collections of short stories but hopefully there'll be a novel or two tucked away somewhere. ( )
  nikon | Oct 3, 2015 |
After reading Daddy Love and its endless repetition I can not believe that I was stupid enough to read another Oates book. If you enjoy reading the same story four times you might enjoy this group of four novellas. I do not know what men have done to Ms. Oates in her life but in every one of these stories the plot centers around a sick abusive man who damages an innocent naive woman. Daddy Love, of course, is about a pedophile. These are the only two Oates books that I have read but if this is characteristic of her beliefs I feel that a therapist is in order. ( )
  muddyboy | Feb 1, 2015 |
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If any explanation exists for why and how love goes wrong, Oates implies that it lies in the fragility of our sense of self. It is the lack of a secure identity, the belief that one is “worthless” without love, that allows for others’ appropriative manipulation and haunting. The women remain in thrall to their lovers because they think, like Mariana, “without this man, I am nothing,” or take pride that their abuser “singled [them] out,” or feel, like LizBeth, even when faced with the reality of her boyfriend’s malevolence: “He loved me — he would not have hurt me.”
added by ozzer | editBoston Globe, Priscilla Gilman (Aug 31, 2013)
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In "Evil Eye," we meet Mariana, the young fourth wife of a prominent intellectual. When her husband's brazen first wife visits one night, Mariana learns a terrible secret that could be a harbinger of doom for her marriage and very soul. In "So Near, Anytime, Always," shy teenager Lizbeth meets Desmond, a charming boy who offers this introverted girl the first sparks of young romance. Yet just as their relationship begins to blossom, Lizbeth realizes that beneath Desmond's perfect facade lies a dark soul that could wreak havoc on Lizbeth and her loved ones. In "The Execution," spoiled college student Bart Hansen has planned the perfect, brutal crime to get back at his parents for their years of condescension. Yet what he didn't plan for is a mother whose love is more resilient than he could have ever imagined, who threatens to derail his carefully laid-out plans. And in "The Flat-Bed," childhood trauma has prevented Cecelia from enjoying the pleasures of physical intimacy with a man, but when she finally meets the love of her life, Cecelia realizes that finding intimacy will mean coming face-to-face with the despicable man from her past who robbed her of her innocence years ago.--From publisher's description.… (more)

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