The books is comprised of stories about the last days of Poe, Dickenson, Mark Twain and Papa Hemingway. Oates knows and likely reveres all the...more
So, in "Poe Posthumous; or, The Light-House" E.A.P. is - ding-ding - (or is that tap-tap?) a lighthouse keeper. ...I'd be fired if that were my job. A meditation on loneliness and fear. And what do they lead to? They are the tributaries of madness. Like, you know, being buried alive only without the scent of cheap pine. At any rate: a masterful Lovecraftian pastiche that positions Oates as the High Priestess of Amer...more
Each of the five stories deals with one author. Poe’s story never seemed very focused to me. Twain’s story was incredibly creepy and I wasn’t a fan. I’m hoping Oates doesn’t believe he was actually like the way she wrote him, becau...more
"Wild Nights!", Joyce Carol Oates' latest short story collection, lives up to its title well beyond the reader's wildest imagination, offering tales told in the voices of Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Samuel Clemens ("Mark Twain"), Henry James and Ernest Hemingway. Bittersweet, macabre and compelling, these stories are not mere imitations of the literary styles of each of these distinguished American writers, but are...more
I’m not a big fan of Oates, but I did think Blackwater was brilliant and haunting, even though it was probably one of her shortest works. In Blackwater, Oates imagines the last moments of Mary Jo Kopechne (July 26, 1940 – July 18, 1969), who died in a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy on Chappaquiddick Island. (I have nothing written about it so my guess is that I read it before I started keeping a book journal.) Wild Nights! has a hi...more
The only thing that seems to be a constant is that the stories concern the ends of the lives (or even the afterlives) of the authors - the "Wild Nights". Poe h...more
Oates is the consummate voyeur, whether she's exploring the worlds of murderers, dysfunctional teens, or alienated women. Here, in this sordid look at literary greats, each with his or her damaged psyche, she reimagines their final days. Most critics lauded Oates's ability to imitate the distinctive styles of the writers
The book isn't actually terrible, but it was not at all what I was expecting. The fact that each story is written in an approximatio...more
"Poe, Posthomous" imagines that Poe spent his final days not in Baltimore but in an isolated lighthouse off the coast of Chile, hoping that the solitude would allow him to produce an important philosoph...more
jco does something really great here; not...more
"Wild Nights--Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
This is a book, as the subtitle indicates, about the "Last days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway." As such, there is considerable idiosyncrasy and fantasy here. Poe's and Dickinson's last days, of course, were nothing as portrayed here. However, each short story does capture something of their mi...more
I thought all of the stories were good, but by the Hemingway story at the end, the luster was wearing off. Maybe its because I've never cared much for Hemingway, that I didn't care much for his story. I guess I didn't hate it, it just seemed that some ele...more
The Poe story is my least favorite. Poe is isolated and goes mad.
The Dickinson story is my favorite. A couple orders a replica of Dickinson. It walks and talks and is programmed to act like Dickinson. Would you like Emily Dickinson to live with you? This story made me laugh and creeped me out, too. If you read just one story from the book, I suggest this one.
The Samuel Clemens story changed my...more
But these stories were also unsettling, and I grew weary of Oates's repeated premise: take a famous American writer, make him/her nuts/pervy/repressed/etc., and let the reader's repulsed pity flow!
I would have liked this book better if each story had been a littl...more