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The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
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The Accursed

by Joyce Carol Oates

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Series: Gothic Saga (5)

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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. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
My first Joyce Carol Oates and I thoroughly enjoyed going over the top! ( )
  jconnell | Dec 10, 2013 |
I was excited at hearing that Joyce Carol Oates had written a "vampire" novel and couldn't wait to read this book. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had originally hoped to. The narrator is a historian who happens to decrypt a journal that describes the "Curse" of Princeton which was broken in 1906. This novel describes his discovery of the journal that allows him to read the actual events and how the Curse was broken. The story is written through several historical characters' view points including former President Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, and Upton Sinclair.

My main problem with this novel was its slow pace and the avoidance of the word vampire. Oates tries to use description to allude to vampires and vampirism, however, it can lead to a reader's confusion and lost interest in the story. (As was the case with me.) In general, I thoroughly enjoy Oates' novels, her candor on life, and the horror of everyday experiences. This novel just seemed to struggle along, winding through multiple character perspectives trying to clarify the story - resulting in confusion and a lost reader. ( )
  JEB5 | Oct 30, 2013 |
OK so one by one off they die. Couldn't JCO have accomplished the same in 150 fewer pages? I give this 2 1/2 stars. Ran long and at times bored me. ( )
  econtom | Oct 22, 2013 |
The Accursed
Joyce Carol Oates
October 15, 2013
The setting is Princeton in 1905 and 1906. A bride leaves the altar and runs off with a mysterious man, and her brothers, and cousins, meet unusual fates. There are murders and outrages, and the university president, Woodrow Wilson, suffers a stroke. It seems there is a curse on the Slade mansion, Crosswicks. It is broken at the end of the story, and everything is set right, but not before the devil and his minions are defeated in their bog castle, and a minister confesses. A very entertaining, but very long novel, partly historical fiction and partly gothic horror. ( )
  neurodrew | Oct 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joyce Carol Oatesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, Suet YeeDesignersecondary 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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