Beautiful days : stories / Joyce Carol Oates.
Booklist Reviews 2018 February #1
Oates' latest story collection features varied characters coping with confounding situations and relationships, with reconciliation often just beyond their grasp, whether they desire it or not. The 12 tales examine the forces and preconceptions that guide the characters' internal navigation. In "Fleuve Bleu," a chance encounter between strangers evolves into an affair involving power dynamics as well as the effects of self-justification in the pursuit of individual pleasure. "The Bereaved" follows Max and his younger wife, Becca, after the death of Max's troubled daughter (and Becca's stepdaughter), as the couple embarks on a cruise to avoid a cruel anniversary. It's a well-meaning diversion that soon reveals uneasy perceptions, memories, and doubts. Realities and influences shift and transform in the collection's later works. The haunting "Fractal" tracks a mother and young son as they travel to a museum specializing in the son's favorite subject, the story simmering in quiet panic as the visit frenetically devolves. Oates' diverse tales offer a forthright exploration of her characters' impulsiveness and internal provocations, further exposing the uncomfortable, virulent truths in their lives, and ours. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 September #2
Two lovers married to others insist that they will at least be ruthlessly honest with each other. A young woman realizes that her good-girl persona doesn't match the intensity deep in her soul. And, in a 2017 Pushcart Prize-winning story, a young African studying in America must gather his courage and his wits when his student visa is inexplicably yanked. Including 13 pieces altogether; with a big push on social media, where Oates reigns.Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2018 March #1
With her usual acute grasp of human psychology, the prolific, multi-award-winning Oates delivers a hefty volume of short stories in three parts. Pieces in the first section mostly explore lacerating relationships that are broken or breaking. A married man tires of the daring and dazzling honesty he and his younger lover, also married, once shared; as he returns later, when she has cancer, she shouts him down. A man plots to implicate a woman who loves him in his death, and elsewhere, a couple for whom marriage "is an affable not-quite-hearing" bend but perhaps don't break under the strain of a daughter's death. The second section features identity confusion, with a white woman convinced that the black nurse easing her pain is the hostile student she once tried to help, and a professor who is intrigued by a staring woman learns that she thought he was deceased. In the final section, a young woman worships the reckless "master" who controls her and an African student unprepared for an American university education is deprived of his visa and subjected to horrific indignities.
PW Reviews 2017 December #1