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The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
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The Accursed

by Joyce Carol Oates

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gothic Saga (5)

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4442423,573 (3.15)48
  1. 00
    Goethe's Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (WSB7)
    WSB7: The protagonist of The Accursed makes a deal with God. How does this compare with Faust's deal with the devil?
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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Good god. Kinda fun but pretty lousy. I love the Puss character. JCO is formidable but she needs to hold herself to a higher standard. ( )
  wordlikeabell | Oct 27, 2014 |
This novel is a Gothic piece that weaves through Princeton's elite in the early 1900's, a fun and darkly comedic view from the top. This is a book in a grouping of Gothic novels from Oates, however... this was my first novel of Oates that dealt with the whimsical macabre. Although different from expected, Oates succeeds in the creepy, offensive, and unearthly with such charm.

I was very lucky to attend an event with Joyce Carol Oates discussing/signing "The Accursed" at RJ Julia Bookstore in Madison, CT. The event was surprisingly intimate which was a stroke of luck since Oates had practically lost her voice. Even with a hoarse voice, her talk was a nice surprise. I wasn't expecting a "cute" and "funny" Author, more a Princeton snobby Professor. Don't get me wrong, I love JCO as a writer but I didn't know if I would like her personality as well. She exceeded my expectations ten fold and made light of this novel in such a fun way. After her talk about "The Accursed", I ended up enjoying it even more.

To share some of the main points Oates discussed about this book...

The most important thing I took away from Oates was historical accuracy. The characters, although embellished, follow a fairly accurate history. This surprised me since there was quite a bit of appalling behavior in the actions of some of these famous historical figures. I understand this was the majority of thought back then but it's hard to digest in this era. Prejudice, hate, lynchings, etc... very common, especially among the upper class where they have hired hands still at their beck and call.

I don't want to give away much of this book since there are so many stories, all lightly woven together and discussing much of this book would be unfair to you. Pick up this book BUT keep an open mind and remember there is a very important lesson to be learned from the story. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Listened to audio book and I loved every minute of it. ( )
  southernpsych | May 30, 2014 |
Stephen King wrote the most appealing review of this book in the NYT. I wish I could feel as enthusiastic about it as he does.

Not awful, but too long and sprawling, and in need of something to unify the different scenes and characters. Aggressively and irritatingly narrated.

Shades of Ragtime and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but not as good as either of those books. ( )
1 vote thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
My first Joyce Carol Oates and I thoroughly enjoyed going over the top! ( )
  jconnell | Dec 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Some novels are almost impossible to review, either because they’re deeply ambiguous or because they contain big surprises the reviewer doesn’t wish to give away. In the case of “The Accursed,” both strictures apply. What I wish I could say is simply this: “Joyce Carol Oates has written what may be the world’s first postmodern Gothic novel: E. L. Doctorow’s ‘Ragtime’ set in Dracula’s castle. It’s dense, challenging, problematic, horrifying, funny, prolix and full of crazy people. You should read it. I wish I could tell you more.”
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Stephen King (Mar 14, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joyce Carol Oatesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boldini, GiovanniCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chong, Suet YeeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dziekonski, KarenExecutive producersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eljin ProductionsProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
From an obscure little village we have become the capital of America.  - Ashbel Green, Speaking of Princeton, New Jersey, 1783
All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to demons. - St. Augusstine
Dedication
For my husband and first reader, Charlie Gross; and for my dear friends Elaine Pagels and James Cone
First words
It is an afternoon in autumn, near dusk.
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Book description
Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century; a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls.  But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edge of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents.  Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent.  A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton-their daughters begin to disappearing.  A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man-a shapeshifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege.  And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.  When the brides brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most  formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief, Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain-all plagued by "accursed" visions.  (ARC)
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In 20th century Princeton, New Jersey, a powerful curse, which besets the wealthiest of families, causes the disappearance of a young bride, and when her brother sets out to find her, he crosses paths with the town's most formidable people, including Grover Cleveland and Upton Sinclair.… (more)

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