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Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers (2019)

by Joyce Carol Oates (Editor & Contributor)

Other authors: Margaret Atwood (Contributor), Aimee Bender (Contributor), Steph Cha (Contributor), Edwidge Danticat (Contributor), Laurel Hausler (Illustrator)11 more, Cassandra Khaw (Contributor), Sheila Kohler (Contributor), Lisa Lim (Contributor), Livia Llewellyn (Contributor), Valerie Martin (Contributor), Elizabeth McCracken (Contributor), Bernice L. McFadden (Contributor), Jennifer Morales (Contributor), S.J. Rozan (Contributor), S.A. Solomon (Contributor), Lucy Taylor (Contributor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3312578,476 (3.56)11
"This collection of feminist crime tales edited by the one and only Joyce Carol Oates is marketed to 'readers who are sick and tired of the status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society.' Well, isn't that everyone?" --CrimeReads, included in the Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2019 "The 15 stories and six poems in this slim yet weighty all-original noir anthology--contributors include Margaret Atwood and Edwidge Danticat--are razor-sharp and relentless in their portrayal of life, offering snapshots of dysfunction, everyday toil, and brief joy...Each story sears but does not cauterize, leaving protagonists and readers raw. As Oates points out in her introduction, and the stories hauntingly evoke, noir's strength has very little to do with man-centric plots and everything to do with female ascendance. Fans of contemporary crime fiction won't want to miss this one." --Publishers Weekly "'Is there a distinctive female noir?' asks Oates in her introduction. This collection may not settle that question, but it goes a long way toward supplying candidates for an emerging canon. There are 15 stories here, all but one of them new, and half a dozen new poems...the average [story] is high enough to satisfy readers of all genders." --Kirkus Reviews "This collection enlivens...flattened archetypes by retelling the noir narrative from the new perspectives of teenage girls, women hired hands, and mothers of children." --Book Riot, included in 9 of the Best Noir Fiction Retellings "This all original anthology features 15 stories, in which a lot of bad men get their comeuppances, by Steph Cha, Edwidge Danticat, S.J. Rozan, and other women authors. Margaret Atwood contributes six poems." --Publishers Weekly, Fall 2019 Adult Announcements (Mysteries & Thrillers) "All of the stories in this collection are excellent, and I definitely recommend it for any connoisseur of noir looking to expand their repertoire with women writers." --BookRiot, included in a list of "Noir by Women, Not Just Femme Fatales" Joyce Carol Oates, a queenpin of the noir genre, has brought her keen and discerning eye to the curation of an outstanding anthology of brand-new top-shelf short stories (and poems by Margaret Atwood!). While bad men are not always the victims in these tales, they get their due often enough to satisfy readers who are sick and tired of the gendered status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society. This stylistically diverse collection will make you squirm in your seat, stay up at night, laugh out loud, and inevitably wish for more. Featuring brand-new stories by: Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood (poems), Valerie Martin, Aimee Bender, Edwidge Danticat, Sheila Kohler, S.A. Solomon, S.J. Rozan, Lucy Taylor, Cas… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
overall a very good collection. the writing is generally excellent in these stories. many of them had plots that i didn't love, but the writing was almost always fantastic. i wasn't always interested in the violence (but then i maybe shouldn't have picked this up) but it was almost always done in a way that subverted the typical idea of who commits violent acts, or how. each of these stories and poems is about woman as actor and as the one with agency, not like you usually see in noir or crime fiction.

i was glad to read this, and to hear from some of these authors for the first time, and others after a long long hiatus.

favorites were too many lunatics by lucy taylor, please translate by edwidge danticat, o.b.f. inc by bernice l mcfadden, il grifone by valerie martin, and update on werewolves, the last poem by margaret atwood. and i loved the writing in thief by steph cha, fire town by aimee bender, while not loving either story, and would very much be interested in reading more elizabeth mccracken.

in particular, i thought danticat's way of telling the story (only through a series of voicemails, translated and transcribed) was innovative and interesting. lucy taylor had great voice and a nice twist of unreliability, with a sort of ambiguous ending (one of my favorite things). the tension and the writing were outstanding in valerie martin's piece, which probably would have been my favorite if not for bernice l mcfadden's. what awesome social commentary. i loved it.

the only story i didn't like was cassandra khaw's, but even that one i thought was really, really well written.

great collection.

an issue with the audio production of this book - there is no pause, literally none, between stories. it reads as if the title and author of the next story are the next sentence in the previous story. there is no reason they can't add a 5 second pause to the end of each story. let us breathe for a second before moving directly into the next author and story. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Sep 12, 2020 |
A thoroughly entertaining anthology of fine stories! Particularly enjoyed stories by Solomon, Joyce, Lim, Martin, Llewellyn, Kohler, and Cha, but I didn't skip a one. ( )
  ThomasPluck | Apr 27, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a collection edited by Joyce Carol Oates and it shows. The collection is distinctly noir-tinged and the pieces focus largely on domestic situations or ones with a striking power imbalance. Oates has also assembled an impressive roster of authors here, from Edwidge Dandicat to Aimee Bender; there's no lack of talent on display.

There's an enormous variety to the pieces here. Most stories fit well into the crime genre, from Valerie Martin's Il Griffon, a classic noir about a young married woman living in an old apartment building in Rome; to Lisa Lim's bleak and unsettling illustrated domestic drama, The Hunger. There are also some pieces that sit outside traditional genre parameters, but fit beautifully with the themes of the collection, from Bernice McFadden's sharp-edged satire, OBF, Inc., to six poems by Margaret Atwood, to a creepily atmospheric story about a museum, An Early Specimen by Elizabeth McCracken.

This is a solid and well-conceived collection. Not a single author sent in a mediocre offering. But considering who was editing this collection, is that any surprise? ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Apr 7, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Face it, the minute you put Joyce Carol Oates’ name as editor on a book, high expectations abound. And the idea of a collection of mystery and crime stories – noir – all written by women makes for an added draw.

Oh, how high expectations lead to great falls.

The collection starts out very nicely. Livia Llewellyn’s story about a young girl and her relationships with her friend and the friend’s father comes out slowly, eerily, and subtly. We think we know what is going on, but don’t want to be sure. The end is equally satisfying.

And therein ends anything worth mentioning. The remainder of the stories do not provide anything new, do not provide any real excitement, and do not even show a particular writing skill level that would evidence their inclusion in any collection. Even the final piece by Ms. Oates, while at least crafted well, does not really go anywhere – or, at least, anywhere worth going.

I cannot recommend this collection. It quite simply falls flat on all counts. ( )
  figre | Jan 15, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I just couldn't relate to any of the stories in this book, which is unusual as mysteries are my favorite genre and I usually love books published by Akashic Books. ( )
  kerryp | Jan 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oates, Joyce CarolEditor & Contributorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bender, AimeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cha, StephContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Danticat, EdwidgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hausler, LaurelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Khaw, CassandraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kohler, SheilaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lim, LisaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Llewellyn, LiviaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, ValerieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCracken, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McFadden, Bernice L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morales, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rozan, S.J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Solomon, S.A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, LucyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"This collection of feminist crime tales edited by the one and only Joyce Carol Oates is marketed to 'readers who are sick and tired of the status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society.' Well, isn't that everyone?" --CrimeReads, included in the Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2019 "The 15 stories and six poems in this slim yet weighty all-original noir anthology--contributors include Margaret Atwood and Edwidge Danticat--are razor-sharp and relentless in their portrayal of life, offering snapshots of dysfunction, everyday toil, and brief joy...Each story sears but does not cauterize, leaving protagonists and readers raw. As Oates points out in her introduction, and the stories hauntingly evoke, noir's strength has very little to do with man-centric plots and everything to do with female ascendance. Fans of contemporary crime fiction won't want to miss this one." --Publishers Weekly "'Is there a distinctive female noir?' asks Oates in her introduction. This collection may not settle that question, but it goes a long way toward supplying candidates for an emerging canon. There are 15 stories here, all but one of them new, and half a dozen new poems...the average [story] is high enough to satisfy readers of all genders." --Kirkus Reviews "This collection enlivens...flattened archetypes by retelling the noir narrative from the new perspectives of teenage girls, women hired hands, and mothers of children." --Book Riot, included in 9 of the Best Noir Fiction Retellings "This all original anthology features 15 stories, in which a lot of bad men get their comeuppances, by Steph Cha, Edwidge Danticat, S.J. Rozan, and other women authors. Margaret Atwood contributes six poems." --Publishers Weekly, Fall 2019 Adult Announcements (Mysteries & Thrillers) "All of the stories in this collection are excellent, and I definitely recommend it for any connoisseur of noir looking to expand their repertoire with women writers." --BookRiot, included in a list of "Noir by Women, Not Just Femme Fatales" Joyce Carol Oates, a queenpin of the noir genre, has brought her keen and discerning eye to the curation of an outstanding anthology of brand-new top-shelf short stories (and poems by Margaret Atwood!). While bad men are not always the victims in these tales, they get their due often enough to satisfy readers who are sick and tired of the gendered status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society. This stylistically diverse collection will make you squirm in your seat, stay up at night, laugh out loud, and inevitably wish for more. Featuring brand-new stories by: Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood (poems), Valerie Martin, Aimee Bender, Edwidge Danticat, Sheila Kohler, S.A. Solomon, S.J. Rozan, Lucy Taylor, Cas

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Book description
Part I:
Their bodies, our selves.
One of these nights / Livia Llewellyn
A history of the world in five objects / S.J. Rozan
The hunger / Lisa Lim
Too many lunatics / Lucy Taylor
Please translate / Edwidge Danticat

Part II: A doom of one's own.
The boy without a bike / Jennifer Morales
An early specimen / Elizabeth McCracken
OBF, Inc. / Bernice L. McFadden
Firetown / Aimee Bender
Thief / Steph Cha

Part III: Manslaying.
Impala / S.A. Solomon
Mothers, we dream / Cassandra Khaw
Il Grifone / Valerie Martin
Miss Martin / Sheila Kohler
Six poems / Margaret Atwood
Assassin / Joyce Carol Oates
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