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Give Me Your Heart

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  600 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
“Haunting . . . Written in the author’s classic, clear style, these narratives enchant.”—Boston Globe

The need for love—obsessive, self-destructive, unpredictable—takes us to forbidden places, as in the chilling world of Give Me Your Heart, a new collection of stories by the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates. In ten razor-sharp stories, children veer beyond their parents’ contro
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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"Give Me Your Heart" is a collection of ten dark short stories about people looking for love and acceptance. They are often downtrodden people who are emotionally on the edge, or teenagers who have found themselves over their heads in dangerous situations. The title story is about an older man who promised a woman student that he would love her forever--and the rejected woman is stalking him and planning her revenge years later. "Strip Poker" involves an adolescent girl getting caught up in a ca ...more
Aug 29, 2010 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this short story collection by Joyce Carol Oates, themes of love connect the stories. Obsessive, self-destructive, unpredictable love. We visit forbidden and chilling places with the characters.

Most notable stories include the titled selection "Give Me Your Heart," in which a woman pursues an obsessive love...someone who shunned her years ago. Her relentless quest takes us to dark and disturbing places.

In "Smother," an unstable young artist relives bits and pieces of nightmare memories until
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Give Me Your Heart, the newest collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, shimmers with violence, actual or imagined. Reading these stories is like hearing footsteps in your home when you know you're the only one there. They're like seeing something impossible out of the corner of your eye and being sure that you've seen it no matter what your rational self tells you. The stories make your heart race and your eyes open wide in horror. They do not come to us gently. Joyce Carol Oates grabs ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably not my best choice for a holiday read/listen. Viscerally dark collection of short stories of people on the precipice of emotional collapse. The actual bloody endings are left to the reader to interpret. Perhaps I am penalizing Joyce Carol Oates a star for the depressing nature of the tales. They are well written. Gotta search out some lighter reading material heading into the New Year. Fluff.
Joyce Carol Oates, fiction's high priestess of rape culture narratives, gives us here an uneven collection full of fractured narratives that swerve with lack of determinacy and structure. These stories rarely end, instead they push you to a point and then stop, leaving a certain amount of drama off the page. It seeks to mimic real life, or seems to, with its misremembered details and subjective interpretations, and in its best stories - Strip Poker, Bleeed - Oates acheives a gross uneasiness rip ...more
Jul 13, 2011 Shaun rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Usually a fan of what others consider to be depressing, dark, or macabre, I have to say that I really only enjoyed a few of these short stories. Maybe enjoyed is even a bit of a stretch honestly. Many of the stories had no real flow or cohesiveness to them at all. By the end of the collection I felt as if I had read a collection of short stories submitted by a rather dark version of a high school creative writing class.

I found often that by the time I began to come to grips with what the some o
Ian Baaske
(One of a number of books I found for dirt cheap in the Borders meltdown. Depressingly, there were a number of copies still available. But it was heartening to see large quantities of books by Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin massively discounted and unsold.)

For several reasons, I enjoyed this book less as I worked my way through it. For one thing, I started it while on vacation by the lake and finished it on a crowded El train. But I also read Andrea Thompson’s “meh” review and, while
Jun 01, 2011 Talani rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I thought I liked depressing stories. They are short stories but I was bored throughout. I kept catching myself counting the pages. It feels like she really REALLY wants you to understand, these perpetrators are just normal people. They aren't Disney'ish bad guys. They are just like you and me. It takes her about 20-30 pages to assure herself that you, the stupid reader gets it. Then finally, the character does something bad and the story is over.

The abrupt ending felt contrived after the
Thomas Bruso
May 31, 2014 Thomas Bruso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Carol Oates is one of those authors who needs to be read in small doses. But read nonetheless.

In this brief collection of short fiction, a dying art resurrected by a few deserving authors, "Give Me Your Heart" is a heart-hammering tour de force, a slick of short stories, bordering on the psychological exploration of the human mind. Reading Oates is, to put it bluntly and simply, obsessive. But dark. Maybe too dark at times. But with Oates, you know you'll get your money's worth. Every penn
Pamela Scott
May 14, 2014 Pamela Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery & Suspense is a strong collection of stories. It’s Oates’s best collection in recent years. I liked every story. Every story in the collection was strong.

GIVE ME YOUR HEART: A woman writes to an old lover. She was a young student when her much old professor seduced her. The letter is full of anger, bitterness and resentment. She believes her lover owes her for what he put her through. She wants to cut out his heart. I thought this was a powerful story.

Thomas Strömquist
The cover text on this one led me to believe that JCO had strayed into some unexplored realm of ghost stories and haunted places or something. But, more true to form, it is a collection of stories of haunted and desperate people. She writes beautifully, as always, but the dark and depressing stories are actually a bit too alike for me to whole-heartedly recommend the book. I felt that I could really use a glimmer of light or hope... I would suggest reading one or a couple of stories at at time.
The first two stories failed miserably and the rest never improved enough to make up for that. Most were ok but still felt too much like the output from a creative writing class where angst young adults attempt to write about the dark side of human nature. When Oates hits the right cord she really nails it but that only happened for me on two of the stories. Not very many authors can pull off the macabre well and this is a prime example of an attempt can bad.
Mar 24, 2013 Michele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I'll start out by saying that I didn't think any of these stories were either mysterious or suspenseful so I'm not sure why that's in the title. I personally didn't like any of the stories except for "Smother," but I only liked half of it and that was the half written from the mother's POV. I will say that Joyce Carol Oates has a knack for getting the register right but I just didn't care about any of the stories enough to recommend them.
Apr 02, 2014 Kornela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I’m not a huge short story fan. I feel that it’s almost impossible to create a compelling character and an interesting plot in such a short literary medium. Give me a novel that has time to fully flesh out its characters any day. Plus most short story collections tends to be mixed bags—a couple of good stories thrown in with some really bad or indifferent ones. Give me Your Heart by Joyce Carol Oates was no exception to this-there were some bad stories in here but it was elevat ...more
Joel  Werley
Oct 16, 2014 Joel Werley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Carol Oates might simply be the best writer of the dark and wet that we have. She doesn't need any compliments from this little reviewer as to her phenomenal writing ability, and those of us who enjoy a dabble in the realm of blood and guts are lucky that she descends the rickety steps from literature to genre fiction. Out of her formidable oeuvre (over 40 novels?! Dozens of short story collections?!), I've only read two novels, this collection, and some other random short stories that ine ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Rikke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are story about the heart and the unreliable forces that are attributed to that particular organ. Love is what connects these tales and also what tears them apart.
Oates writes about love; in her short stories she showcases the destructive beauty and violence that lies within the heart and she demonstrates how quickly love can turn and change into something entirely different.

I found each and every one of these tales to be absolutely mesmerizing. They are bizarre, macabre even
Sep 22, 2015 Laure rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le titre ne pourrait être mieux choisi. Les dix nouvelles regroupées dans ce recueil sont poignantes et tordent les entrailles des personnages, et les nôtres au passage. Tant d'individualités poussées à bout de souffle qui ne peuvent plus contenir leur rage, leur détresse, leurs déceptions, qui se noient de ne pouvoir se libérer du poids qui leur est imposé,, par eux, ou par les entités extérieures qui prennent tant de place dans notre vie : famille, amis, société, regard des autres. Des personn ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Sherri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are Joyce Carol Oates at her best. She somehow takes normalcy and turns it on it's side for a supreme creep-fest feel. These stories aren't of dream-monsters or vampires or other evil beasts. Instead they are stories of normal life turned wrong. It is the human in the story that is the monster in the most normal of ways.

If you've never read a Joyce Carol Oates book, then this might be a good one to start on.

Disclaimer: I am a huge Joyce Carol Oates fan. I have been known to
Sep 11, 2014 Freesiab rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
JCO can be hit or miss. This was a miss. There were a couple well crafted stories. There was no mystery or suspense. The theme seemed to be be victim hood. Naturally it wound up quite violent when dealing with this theme. Many stories seemed dialed in to her other stories and recycled parts. I'm used to her unusual writing style but a few stories were so confusing I had to go back to see if it was the same story. I'm giving it a 2 because there were a couple ish stories I really enjoyed and wish ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Tuxlie marked it as to-read

“Haunting . . . Written in the author’s classic, clear style, these narratives enchant.”—Boston Globe

The need for love—obsessive, self-destructive, unpredictable—takes us to forbidden places, as in the chilling world of Give Me Your Heart, a new collection of stories by the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates. In ten razor-sharp stories, children veer beyond their parents’ control, wives and husbands wake up to find that they hardly know each other, haunted pasts intrude upon uncertain futures, and t

Jul 14, 2015 Tuxlie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

An Otto Penzler Book

The need for love - obsessive, self-destructive, unpredictable - takes us to forbidden places, as in the chilling world of Give Me Your Heart, a new collection of stories by the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates.

In the suspenseful 'Strip Poker,' a reckless adolescent girl must find a way of turning the tables on a gathering of increasingly threatening young men - Can she 'outplay' them? In the award-winning 'Smother!' a young woman's nightmare memory of childhood brings trouble

Lizzie Shannon-Little
This book is my discovery of Joyce Carol Oates. And I was not disappointed. I sort out this author because she is - I think - a short story writer first and foremost, and the more short stories I can consume at the moment the better. And secondly, because she edits OUP's "The Oxford Book of American Short Stories" (what a coop for the Press!) and I wanted to know what her writing was like...

I selected this book to read first because the stories were billed as "Tales of Mystery and Suspense". Tha
Derek John
Jun 30, 2014 Derek John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-god-awful
Joyce Carol Oates is a master of the art of overusing commas. You will not read a single sentence that does not contain a run-on sentence. The second short story is four and a half pages long, yet is only one paragraph! I had to stop after the sixth story because the whole book just became so confusing. It's difficult to tell who is talking or referencing what (especially the first story). Whoever was supposed to proofread did a terrible job. If I can quote a line from the second story entitled, ...more
For Books' Sake
Give Me Your Heart is comprised of ten short stories previously published in magazines and periodicals, collected for the first time in this themed anthology. The stories’ central characters are obsessive and self-destructive, often with warped and unreliable viewpoints on the world around them.

As a collection, it makes for unsettling and uneasy reading. With several of the stories told through a disjointed, disorientated stream of consciousness, the reader is given a voyeuristic and uncomfortab
Aug 22, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellit, usa
Pohdin harvinaisen pitkään, minkä verran tähtiä antaisin tälle novellikokoelmalle: 3 vai 4. Koska mukana oli muutama niin erinomainen novelli ja suurin osa muistakin oli kaiken vaivan arvoisin, päädyin neljään. Oatesin novelleissa oli tiivis, ahdistava tunnelma, raskaita aiheita ja yllättävä käänne, juuri niin kuin hyvässä novellissa pitääkin olla. Monessa tarinassa päähenkilö oli ajautunut uhkaavaan tilanteeseen, kun taas toisissa uhkaaja oli kertoja itse. Muutamassa tarinassa hyviksen ja pahik ...more
Jun 29, 2013 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Fair warning. Joyce Carol Oates can be a dark, transgressive writer. I'm often taken aback by how surprised readers seem to be when they come across her dark writing. After all, this is the woman who wrote "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" and a variety of other dark, disturbing stories. She is not afraid to touch on any subject. No, these are not stories of mystery and suspense in the genre sense. There isn't a who-dun-it to be found. These are stories of the mystery of human tragedy ...more
Sarah Beaudoin
I'm often surprised by how creepy the writing of Joyce Carol Oates can be. Many of the short stories in Give Me Your Heart exemplify her talent for disturbing prose. A few times I had to set the book down. Give Me Your Heart is a collection of short stories involving gruesome events. Oates doesn't pull any punches as an author anyway and that is especially true in this collection. She doesn't flinch from addressing rape, brutal beatings, child murders, or cruelness. A couple of these stories cou ...more
Michael Davies
Some more dark offerings from the prolific pen of Joyce Carol Oates on the subject of love, only not the cuddly, romantic sort, but the obsessive, disturbing and frequently violent variety which passes for normal in Ms. Oates' s bleak world view. With obsessed and vindictive ex lovers, disfunctional families and child killers this little collection runs the gamut of emotions from hatred to murderous rage. The quality is a bit uneven and several have the annoying habit of the short story by endin ...more
Nancy Doerrer
May 25, 2015 Nancy Doerrer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great collection of short stories by my favorite author, JCO. These are in keeping with past collections---dark, suspenseful, often violent and obsessive and all related to family, relationships and the home, which, frankly makes these stories all the more sinister! There's nothing supernatural here or out of the realm of belief. It's just life and love going horribly wrong. It's the stuff of nightmares! Love it!!
Susan Emmet
Ten extremely dark stories of people who vie for love with violence and suppression.
So dark. So dark.
I remain horrified at the depiction of so many women as victims - of men and kids and themselves.
No doubt JCO is a fine writer, a superb one.
I think that the coming of spring just didn't make my mind open to such darkness.
Intriguing characters abound though, as does fine detailing.
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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Pseudonyms ... Rosamond Smith and Laure ...more
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