Chances are, Joyce Carol Oates’ latest work is unlike anything you’ve ever read before. “The Accursed” takes readers on a wild ride through Princeton, N.J., in the years 1905-1906, viewed through a host of characters who are all struggling with their own demons as the result of the Curse (always capitalized).
In the weeks leading up to the book’s release, the Princeton University professor and Anisfield-Wolf jury member completed an interview with the Seattle Times in which she explored some of the themes in the book more in depth. Oates began writing the novel in the 80s and left it alone for more than 20 years while pursuing other projects. She came back to it a few years ago and emerged with a novel some are calling Oates’ best work yet.
As Stephen King said in his New York Times review, this book just might 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.” His review is fun, which is always a good sign for the book at hand. He showcases the complex and ambiguous nature of the novel, leading readers down a path he himself isn’t 100% sure exists and feeling comfortable without a firm grasp on the truth Oates presents. But such complexities often make for good storytelling.
Read an excerpt of “The Accursed” here and let us know if this title makes your list of books to read.