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The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery…

The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense (2008)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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2201152,892 (3.4)33
  1. 00
    Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The darkness of the human heart is the territory explored in 'The museum of Dr. Moses' and 'Full dark, no stars.' Guilt, revenge, troubled marriages, and the family life of serial killers are some of the subjects in these story collections.… (more)
  2. 00
    Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper (Cecilturtle)

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English (10)  French (1)  All (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Everyone always says this, but it's true...this woman's output it just astonishing. And the places her imagination takes her....yikes! In this collection of short stories she gets inside the heads of some very scary people, and does brilliant things for the reader. She loves to take a concept that's almost a cliche...like the closeness of twins, for instance...and turn it inside out. I'm a bit surprised at her female characters...there aren't any particularly strong women here. In fact, most of the women are victims, either of men or of circumstances. Many of them are also somewhat ineffective mothers. Of course, there are no male heroes either...the strong men use that strength in abusive, destructive ways. Hard to say what compels the reader through these stories when there is nothing uplifting in any of them. Her genius with form is one aspect...she often seems to be experimenting with that, and usually it works fairly well. The first selection in this collection, "Hi! Howya Doin!", would be stream of consciousness, except that the narrator is omniscient, so whose consciousness would it be? In "Bad Habits", the narrator seems to be telling a first person tale in which 3 children face drastic changes in their lives when their father is taken away and implicated in horrible crimes. The children are referred to individually as "A", "T", and "D,", and collectively as "us". But it is never clear who is telling the story; is it one of those three, or yet another child who does not appear, but only relates what happens? "Valentine, July Heat Wave" owes a little something to Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", and really fails to shock as the ending is so predictable almost from the first page. The weakest story in the lot, I think, is the title selection. Oates does an incredible job of subtly raising the tension, making the reader feel the narrator's mounting fear, but the ending is a bit of an anti-climax. I haven't read much of Oates' work, and I'm not a big fan of horror, but I left this one with a great deal of admiration for her talent and skill, even when I might not love the result. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Aug 5, 2016 |
This is only the second Oates I’ve read, the first being the more-or-less conventional We Were the Mulvaneys that did not prepare me in any way for this collection of short stories, which are billed “mystery and suspense”. The suspense I get; I’m not so sure about mystery. All of the stories have an element of the criminal or the macabre.

I found “Suicide Watch” to be the most memorable: told from the point of view of a businessman who has been called to visit his son in prison(?)/ psychiatric hospital(?) The businessman’s grandson & the child’s mother are missing, and the son isn’t talking. When he does open up to his father, he tells a chilling tale of mailing the boy’s body to his father – and then proclaims it all a test to see if his father would believe such a thing of him.
I’m checking my mail every day for parcels.

Read this if: you like short stories that can make your spine tingle; or you’re a Joyce Carol Oates fan. 3 stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Dec 7, 2012 |
Mostly these "tales of mystery and suspense" are stories of ordinary people pushed to a state of desperation; the “horror” arises from the realization that the world is full of terrible things (obsessive lovers, disappointing children/parents, tragic accidents, lies, cruelty, strangers who think nothing of involving you in their self-immolation) against which we have little/no defense. No one likes to be reminded that we are all just one unlucky decision/careless moment/loved one away from tragedy.

Unfortunately, many of the stories had predictable endings, which may not have robbed them of their disturbing quality but definitely robbed them of their suspense. Am glad I read to the end because the stories got a little better as they went along. Still, I don’t think JCO broke any new ground here, either in theme or literary merit, which I found slightly disappointing as JCO is usually a dab hand at melodrama.

A good short story should be like a shot of espresso – pure, concentrated emotion. These felt more like a decaf from Starbucks – scalding at times, bitter at times, uniformly tasty, but nothing that’s going to make your heart race and you won’t have trouble going to sleep later. ( )
  Dorritt | Oct 6, 2012 |
It contains ten short stories. They are of psycholocical touch in a genre of thriller and horror. I didn't like all of them. Mostly they were too weird or disgusting. The reading is easy and fast-paced. It isn't difficult getting into the story itself or following the plot but in my opinion some are nasty. ( )
  Ameise1 | May 27, 2012 |
This was an audiobook. Actors were fine, just couldn't get into the stories. Had to jet it.
  SomeGuyInVirginia | May 24, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151015317, Hardcover)

In "The Man Who Fought Roland LaStarza" a woman’s world is upended when she learns the brutal truth about a family friend’s death—and what her father is capable of. Meanwhile, a businessman desperate to find his missing two-year-old grandson in "Suicide Watch" must determine whether the horrifying tale his junky son tells him about the boy’s whereabouts is a confession or a sick test. In "Valentine, July Heat Wave" a man prepares a gruesome surprise for the wife determined to leave him. And the children of a BTK-style serial killer struggle to decode the patterns behind their father’s seemingly random bad acts, as well as their own, in "Bad Habits."

In these and other stories, Joyce Carol Oates explores with bloodcurdling insight the ties that bind—or worse. The Museum of Dr. Moses is another chilling masterpiece from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:18 -0400)

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"Ten suspenseful stories explore the ways in which evil enters our lives: In "Hi! Howya Doin!" an intrusive jogger meets with an abrupt fate; in "The Man Who Fought Roland LaStarza" a young woman's romantic view of her girlhood is devastated by her father's confession; and in "Valentine, July Heat Wave" a man prepares a gruesome surprise for the wife who has betrayed him. In the memorable title story, a young woman tries to rescue her mother from the museum of Dr. Moses-with unexpected results. And the children of a notorious serial killer struggle to "decode" the patterns behind their father's seemingly random acts in "Bad Habits."" "In this collection, Joyce Carol Oates explores the fraught relations between women and men, children and parents, and strangers whose lives briefly but fatally intersect."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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