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Black Dahlia & White Rose: Stories (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories #4)

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  545 ratings  ·  94 reviews
A wildly inventive new collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates that charts the surprising ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours

The New York Times has hailed Joyce Carol Oates as "a dangerous writer in the best sense of the word, one who takes risks almost obsessively with energy and relish." Black Dahlia & White Rose, a
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Hardcover, 274 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Ecco (first published June 6th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,131)
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Julie (julie37619)
If you are going to read Joyce Carol Oates (and you should), I absolutely insist that you start with her short stories. I haven't read enough of her novels to definitively say they don't measure up, but I simply cannot get enough of her short stories.

This collection, which includes a story that is featured in The Best American Short Stories 2011, met all of my expectations. Her title story, Black Dahlia and White Rose, traces the brief intersection in the lives of Elizabeth Short (more commonly
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Keith
In the latest macabre, morbid, and masterful collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, one thing is clear: being a woman is hell, whether you’re a Hollywood starlet or a Jersey suburbanite, a teenager, a mother, a wife, a divorcee, or a widow. Throughout the book, female characters suffer relentlessly from betrayal, abandonment, neglect, trauma, and abuse, while their male counterparts are at best negligent, oblivious, and insensitive, and at worst lecherous, sadistic, and deadly. As a c ...more
Pamela Scott
REVIEW

BLACK DAHLIA & WHITE ROSE: This is a great story. I love the way Oates structures this. Oates uses various first person narrators in this story including Elizabeth Short (aka The Black Dahlia) after her murder. I liked the way Oates tackles the brutal subject matter without being gory and over the top. I liked the use of different narrators that allowed Oates to explore the well-known story from different angles.

I.D: Oates leaves the ending of the story open. The teenage narrator is as
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L.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun
I really liked this dark and disturbing collection of short stories and was surprised by some of the lower ratings. Although, I guess I can understand why Oates' work doesn't appeal to everyone, just like short stories don't appeal to everyone.

In addition to the grim tone, some of the later stories had more ambiguous endings, lacking closure, which is probably a bummer for those who, used to reading novels, expect a tangible and clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. I also felt the stories
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Una Rose
I had heard of Joyce Carol Oates and was excited to read something by her. I heard her stories were a little dark and disturbing and thats certainly true. In darkness, if there is some profound point it is an understandable and forgivable trip to take the reader on. This does not seem to be the case with these stories. I guess I was waiting for some humanity, even love to emerge from these stories but it all seemed like a thinly disguised sneer at humanity, a hysterical laugh at the murder of an ...more
Raul Clement
I read all but two stories in here and pretty much enjoyed them all. I'm deducting a star for the one story I didn't like as well as Oates's somewhat sloppy language. She'll sometimes put words in an order no sane human would use, as well as omit commas while adding unnecessary ones. It's hard to figure out her reason for doing so -- is it some obscure aesthetic statement or just that she writes too fast?



Debra Daniels-zeller
I read JCO years ago when I was in high school. Now I see why I'm not a fan. I like dark but these stories were dreary and depressing. The characters weren't very well developed and some details like cyberbullying should not include things like friending or unfriending someone. The Good Samaritan was about a poor woman who had a scholarship and something like $30 in her pocket. Only an American would call being less well off than their peers "poor." It all depends on where you're standing where ...more
Mindy Conde
I recently tried reading JCO's "The Accursed" but couldn't get into it. I'm glad that I didn't let that get in my way when looking at her other works because this was a wonderful collection. JCO has quite the talent for creating these perfect little glimpses into the most intimate moments of people's everyday lives. She gives you a range of people in this collection who wouldn't seem all that interesting - until she reveals those little things that make them anything but.

A couple of my favorite
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Terri Vlasak
These short stories were interesting reads. All were dark and somewhat disturbing, degree varying from story to story. The stories are grouped into 4 sections, each loosely related in a thematic way. The first story - the only one in section one - is narrated by two deceased celebrities - Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe) and Betty Short (the Black Dahlia). Each talks about her own dream for fame and wealth as they compare their fates and weigh in on one another. Betty wonders at her tragic fail ...more
Mitch Duckworth
My favorite stories:
Black Dahlia & White Rose-*****
I.D.-*****
The Good Samaritan-*****
Roma-*****

Of the eight stories in this slight volume, I ranked four worthy of high, high praise, bestowing them each with five enthusiastic stars. The others fall short of that mark to a greater or lesser degree, but is that not to be expected? It is a rare single-author anthology that succeeds at or even approaching that level from cover to cover. Indeed, the only example of such thorough merit that springs
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Nicole Dupras
I have always been drawn to dark stories and because of this I love Joyce Carol Oates and her takes on dark and controversial subject matters. I became hooked after reading Blonde, the faux biography told from Norma Jeane / Marilyn Monroe's perspective (I have also always been obsessed with MM since I was a child) and then with My Sister, My Love, the fictional story of the murder of a young ice skater, told by her brother, which is, without a doubt, based on the JonBenet Ramsey murders.

The sho
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Joanna
I loved this collection of stories. I had never read Oats before and was amazed at both her imagination and story telling skills. The stories have little in the way of plot or action. The stories are told largely through character and dialogue. Hey Dad was a favourite. She manages to tell the stories of 3 people in six pages. Run Kiss Daddy was very disturbing to me. Daddy has some different behaviours from what you might expect. Spotted Hyenas: A Romance is similar to Roma which is one reason I ...more
Tia
Feb 05, 2014 Tia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
I was so disappointed with this, at first I was raving about it because I loved the story about the Black Dahlia and her friendship with Marilyn Monroe. I was under the impression that the stories would all be surrounding that or at least similar to that but I didn't enjoy any of the stories except the first one. So I was searching for something to keep my interest in the following stories but I just wanted to finish this in a hurry and get to something else. I wish that she had really focused o ...more
Lisa
There really isn't anything I can say about Joyce Carol Oates that hasn't already been said. I love short stories and dark fiction and she rarely fails to satisfy my somewhat twisted tastes. In my opinion, this isn't her best collection, but I enjoyed all the stories and several stood out for me. I have always been fascinated by the Black Dahlia murder and enjoyed Oates' take on the mystery with the title story. "Deceit", involving a selfish mother and her belated, misguided attempt to bond with ...more
Myndi Keyton
This collection of short stories begins with the Black Dalhia telling her story. Like the rest of the world, I've always been oddly fascinated by this story. Oates' take on it is unique in that she alternates between her version and that of Norma Jean Baker's (Marilyn Monroe). From there, the book launches into a series of very short and haunting stories.
Zana
When I began listening to this, I did not realize it was going to be a collection of short stories so I was disappointed when I learned it was not going to be completely about Marilyn and Elizabeth. However, like with most collections of short stories, some were wonderful, some were really bad...I hated the one about the hyenas but loved the one about Marilyn and Elizabeth and the last one about the prison.
Kathy
Even though I am a fan of JCO, this was not one of my favorites. It is too dark, dreary and depressing.

Right now, I am on the story "Run Kiss Daddy" and I am finding fault with it. I live in New Jersey and know the Delaware Water Gap. On page 96 she writes, "- across the river on the high pedestrian walkway, north to Dunfield Creek and Sunfish Pond and . . . ". There is no pedestrian walkway across the river (the Delaware River).

Also, she has the family living in East Orange. I am assuming this
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Megan Jones
Yup, just two stars...it breaks my heart. Maybe it was unfair to attempt to read this after my favorite book of all time, We the Living Nonetheless, none of these stories grabbed me the way Oates usually does. The characters were undeveloped - I couldn't even vaguely connect with any of them. The topics seemed to strive too much to be "modern" throwing around terms like "cyberbullying" and "MySpace" (who even uses that anymore?) with an attempt to relate to the modern mother. And just when she w ...more
Eli
eh. you know. Joyce Carol Oates is a genius at depicting scared-but-tough, messed up women and young girls. It's the stories that try to depict other voices that start to drag. Also, reading a ton of JCO stories in large chunks is like reading diaries written by the same person. The idiosyncrasies and syntax tics that you skip over and accept in a longer novel are really glaring when they show up in a story about a pill-popping soccer-mom divorcee, then a 14-year-old who gets called out of class ...more
Jennifer
Those who know me are well aware that I am quite a fan of Joyce Carol Oates works. I was surprised to see the low average ratings for Black Dahlia & White Rose. In all fairness, I have not read the other reviews so I cannot remark on them, yet I do wonder if all the readers were familiar with Joyce Carol Oates' writing style. If, as a reader, one is looking for uplifting, fully concluded short stories, then this most likely is not the collection of stories to pick up. However, if one is look ...more
Joan Colby
The short story is Oates métier and these do not disappoint. My favorite was I.D. and I liked the title story the least but that’s like comparing prime and choice steaks. Oates excels at foreshadowing and a suffusion of the sinister imbues her work.
Laura
I checked this book out because I'm always interested in a story about the Black Dahlia and I was intrigued by the fictional pairing of her and Marilyn Monroe (then Norma Jean). The title story did not disappoint, but the remainder weren't really to my liking.
Libby
I loved the Black Dahlia and White Rose story but I couldn't get into the stories that followed. It was hard to follow up the Black Dahlia story with less interesting ones...
Tasha Luke
Absolutely horrible book don't waste your time! I knew the entire book was not about the Black Dahlia but what small part that was about her was drab, ridiculous and non informative! The rest of the stories were so boring and anti climactic some just making no sense!
Bruce
I didn't actually get through this whole book. JCO is a spectacular writer, but only some of the time. The sheer amount of material she produces seems to mean she doesn't always spend the amount of time she needs to on a given book or story... Thus a lot of the pieces here to me read like solid first drafts rather than finished stories. Can't really recommend this collection.
Kris
3 STARS

"These stores, at once lyrical and unsettling, shine with the author's trademark fascination with finding the unpredictable amidst the prosaic - from her imaginative recreation of friendship between two tragically doomed young women (Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Short), to the tale of an infidelity as deeply human as it is otherworldly. Black Dahlia & White Rose is a major offering from one of the most important artists in contemporary American literature; a superb collection that sho
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Kevin Shoop
I enjoyed these stories, but some of them were over my head. I expect I would enjoy them more if I could discuss themes and meanings with other readers.
Camille Mccarthy
I really like Joyce Carol Oates's writing. These short stories weren't amazing but they were pretty good, and darker than I expected. I'll definitely try to read more of her novels in the future.
Judy
I liked the short stories. Enjoy one and then quickly move on to another brand new, usually dark, adventure. At first, forgetting that they were short stories, I was confused about the ending and thought, no matter, I'll find out in the next chapter what happened. I soon realized that you have to be satisfied using your own imagination about what you think the outcome was. The front inside cover sums up my feelings about the stories: "Oates explores the menace that lurks at the edges of and intr ...more
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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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