Night-Gaunts takes its name from a H. P. Lovecraft poem of the same name. “Night-Gaunts” tells the atmospheric story of a young boy who is abused by his father. When his father dies, the young boy is threatened by creatures–the Night-Gaunts–that only he can see. The Necronomicon makes an appearance. In The Woman in the Window a young woman waits for her lover in the nude, except for her spiky pair of shoes. An unstable wife of a college professor suspects her husband of having an affair with “The Long-Legged Girl” and takes action. “Sign of the Beast” shows what happens when a college student becomes the focus of an unethical science experiment. A young man battling cancer starts stalking a woman in “Walking Wounded.” As you can see, these stories are firmly planted in Joyce Carol Oates country. Oates knows how to modulate the tone of these stories from sinister to creepy to horrific. The ever generous Beth Fedyn sent me this Advanced Reading Copy (Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense will be published on June 5, 2018). Thanks, Beth! GRADE: B
The Woman in the Window 1
The Long-Legged Girl 31
Sign of the Beast 73
The Experimental Subject 121
Walking Wounded 223
Night-Gaunts 277

12 thoughts on “NIGHT-GAUNTS AND OTHER TALES OF SUSPENSE By Joyce Carol Oates

  1. Deb

    I love Oates’s essays, reviews, and autobiographical writings, but I’ve struggled to get into her fictional works (novels or short stories). There’s a kind of airless quality to them that just doesn’t grab me.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, same here. I read Joyce Carol Oates’s Big Fat Books as they were published early in her career. Around the 1980s I stopped reading her novels, but did read her short story collections and essays.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    I do agree with you and Deb. I like her non-fiction. But the dark, dark stories are too much for me. If they were short, maybe, but reading 40 or 50 (or, occasionally, 100) pages is just not something I want to do.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, you’re right about the darkness in Joyce Carol Oates’s stories. In fact, I can’t remember any JCO story that had any real humor in it. She provides plenty of irony, though.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        I like her dark stories much more than her novels. She is also very good when writing about adolescent girls.

      2. george Post author

        Steve, “Smooth Talk”–both the short story and the movie–show how Joyce Carol Oates can capture the essence of adolescent girls.

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