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Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  771 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prominent writers of her generation, and she is fearless when exploring the most disturbing corners of human nature. In Evil Eye, Oates offers four chilling tales of love gone horribly wrong, showing the lengths people will go to find love, keep it, and sometimes end it.

In "Evil Eye," we meet Mariana, the young 4th wife of a prominent i
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Mysterious Press
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Female Psychological Thrillers/Suspense
205th out of 495 books — 1,366 voters
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Best of Joyce Carol Oates
44th out of 107 books — 57 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,099)
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Aug 31, 2013 thewanderingjew rated it it was amazing
A prolific writer, her fans will love this latest work. Her style of writing uses no contrivances to make her point. The plots are simple, but they take the imagination places that one does not see coming, that one does not expect. Oates des not exaggerate ideas to grab your interest, she merely weaves a tale that, while plausible, is also almost unbearable, bordering on revolting and reprehensible sometimes, and yet, she makes it possible to read the stories without getting up and tossing the b ...more
Subtitled 'Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong', Evil Eye is a compact collection of stories which delivers exactly what it suggests: tales of romantic or familial love with a macabre edge. The beginning of the first story reminded me immediately of Angela Carter's superb The Bloody Chamber, prompting me to start reading Evil Eye soon after I bought it (at 99p in one of the Kindle Daily Deals).

'Evil Eye' is a promising gothic tale about a young woman, her much-older new husband (she's his fourth w
Dec 04, 2013 Connie rated it really liked it
Each of these four novellas features an insecure woman, and a manipulative man who has an inner creepy side to him. "So Near...Any Time...Always" shows a shy teenage girl who meets a man in his twenties. At first she is flattered by his attention, but then he is always lurking in the shadows with his camera...and worse. In "The Execution," a male college student plots to kill his father, and his overprotective mother acts to shield her son from the law. "The Flatbed" involves a woman who had a " ...more
Julie Bryant
Oct 11, 2013 Julie Bryant rated it liked it
Ok so I liked the first story, Evil Eye, but I had to read it again because I thought I missed something. The eye is definitely a talisman, but I didn't understand why she saw the ex wife without an eye but the husband didn't seem to. The thing I took away from the story is that men don't always turn out the way you think and a man who goes through wives like that doesn't really care about any of them. I didn't like the stalker story because it wasn't that exciting. The story about the whiny ric ...more
Pamela Scott
Sep 22, 2014 Pamela Scott rated it liked it
EVIL EYE: I didn’t think this was a very good tale. I liked some aspects of it. I like the way JCO examined the relationship between the husband and his first and most recent wife. I like the fact the husband was quite domineering and abusive. The rest of the novella was quite weak. I didn’t understand what big secret the new wife discovered that almost cost her sanity. JCO never makes this quite clear so I found the tale confusing overall. Did the new wife hallucinate that the first wife had an ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing

A decade ago I plowed through several books of O. Henry Award-winning short stories, and the ones that invariably snared my attention were written by Joyce Carol Oates. I was especially curious how each would end.

The appeal of these stories was the looming sense of darkness and suspense, part and parcel of the American Gothic genre, perhaps in the vein of Flannery O'Connor but without Catholic fanaticism fueling the narratives.

“Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong" explores dysfunctional
Dec 16, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
Evil Eye, a collection of four novellas by Joyce Carol Oates, is a study in the tricky malice of egotists, stalkers, killers, and child molesters. Are you surprised? This is Joyce Carol Oates we’re talking about. In her persistent fictional scenarios over many years a young girl (not always, but usually) is brutalized and exploited by males.

In this collection, three of the novellas are related from the young woman’s point of view. To a certain extent, this makes their predators opaque, but Oate
I am new to Joyce Carol Oates...though I have always meant to introduce myself to her writing, I've only done so now.

What I found in her writing is that yes, these are stories of love but not just the love relationship between a man and woman, but also an exploration between a parent and child, a young girl and a maniac, and a woman and her abuser...some may call the stories dark. They are dark and disturbing but when you examine why they are considered so it is because each of us can actually r
Megan Jones
Nov 12, 2014 Megan Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although the first story made me a bit hesitant to continue reading, the other three stories were outstanding and nothing less than what I'd expect from my favorite author. They were fresh, original and dark - exactly how I like them. They all moved very rapidly yet were extremely deep, and thought provoking. At times I stopped to marvel in JCO's talent, as well as to consider the complex characters. Just the type of book to read on chilly evenings beside the fire.
Aug 14, 2014 Hayley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Evil Eye
I didn't quite get this ones ending. I'm not sure if I just wasn't concentrating while reading it and missed a key bit, or if it was just not explained well enough for me, but I did like the beginning and the unwinding story with so much intrigue and potential.

So Near Anytime Always
Feel sorry for Desmond, as I think there was another underlying issue then what was actually going on. The suspense built and things were well described.

The Execution
It goes into such detail it was quite uncom
Apr 16, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it
JCO is one sick puppy but I love her! These 4 short stories of destroying, self indulgent love are riveting and disturbing. If you like We Have to Talk About Kevin or American Psycho this could be your cup of arsenic laced tea! A fun, creepy read.
Denise Soria
Feb 18, 2016 Denise Soria rated it really liked it
It's the first time I read this author and I can see why people love her... I will definitely read more of her books! I especially liked the first and fourth stories of this book; I couldn’t stop reading until I finished them!
Valerie the bookworm
Nov 23, 2014 Valerie the bookworm rated it really liked it
JCO is so talented. These stories are twisted and creepy and sadly, so realistic . JCO as always gives you plenty to think about.
May 28, 2014 Charlotte rated it liked it
I feel slightly misled because this is a collection of four short stories--huge font printed on very small pages--these aren't novellas. I don't favor one medium over another, but it just feels like a marketing ploy.

Unfortunately, that feeling of being duped gathers intensity with each story. The stories are haunting, as the horror genre demands, but utterly soulless. The best way I can put it is to say there is no narrator, or one so objective she seems nonexistent. (Maybe that's the true horr
Feb 11, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
One of JCO's best in some time. I liked all four of the novellas that comprise Evil Eye ,all with the theme of "love gone wrong." If there's one thing JCO knows how to write, it's the twisted darkness of the human heart. When she matches the twisted darkness of the human heart with characters who think they love, who can't love, who mutilate and bludgeon love (sometimes literally) then she's on a streak of storytelling, character-developing goodness. Nothing and no one in her stories is clearly ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Porkpie rated it really liked it
Four genuinely disturbing and disarming novellas that go by very quickly (I read this book in under 24 hours.) JCO has a way with introducing deeply traumatized states in a very offhand, everyday, "I know that person!" kind of way.

Each story has it's own voice and carries its own weight. All are believable, tight, twisted and haunting.

A quick read, but one of the best books I've read so far in 2013. Made me want to read her entire catalog after I was done.
Sep 26, 2013 Alexandra rated it did not like it
I really was excited to read this book. I love anything creepy, weird etc...I don't have any huge reason to explain why I didn't like it other than to me it was boring. The first story ( the title story ) felt incomplete. I know they were short stories but the other 3 had some kind of ending where I felt Evil Eye just fell off. Maybe I'm not deep enough to get whatever was going on with this book but I wish I hadn't bought it. My opinion only obviously.
Apr 01, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, audio
Four stories of 'love gone wrong'...yes, but almost all the characters make poor and immature decisions that led them to the relationship or choice in the first place. *Spoilers*

Evil Eye 3/5 Passive fourth wife of a domineering successful man has seeds of doubt planted in her during a visit by the first wife. A secret (we don't know for sure is true or not) is revealed and a plan to kill him is subconsciously given to her. Does she do it or not?

So Near, Anytime, Always 4/5 Teenage obsession that
Rosemary Benson
May 21, 2014 Rosemary Benson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Evil Eye can be split up into four delicious experiences, each a meal on its own. Of course Oates offers another delectable assortment of characters, and her language is savory, but I need to credit the wonderful narrators: Donna Postel, Luci Christian, Chris Patton, and Tamara Marston. Let the storytellers take you; it will be hard to pause once the suspense builds.
Mar 08, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-greats
Joyce Carol Oates always makes me stop and think. In these 4 novellas; the first answered a question that had been asked in my family the week before about the meaning of a symbol( a nazar, to ward off the evil eye). It felt like serendipity. The 2nd novella introduced the idea that reincarnation is genetically a realty. So simple but profound. The third novella was terrible; the relationship between a mother and her murderous son, who failed to bludgeon her to death while succeeding in killing ...more
Vivienne Strauss
Sep 19, 2013 Vivienne Strauss rated it it was amazing
Wow. Joyce doesn't fail to deliver on these four gems. NOT for the faint at heart, the stories do become progressively harsh, I found myself reading more slowly as the I went from story to story. I repeat - not for the faint at heart, I won't be passing this one along because I don't want to be held responsible.
Diem Shepard
Sep 15, 2015 Diem Shepard rated it it was ok
Again with the fragile heroine menaced by a psychotic husband/boyfriend/relative. That accounts for 3 of these stories, or novellas according to the subtitle. Oates is good at conveying horrific subject matter in a cool, elegant way and I do enjoy that dynamic, which is why I keep subjecting myself to her tremendous output. The fourth entry is one of those "borrowed from the headlines" things, like her novel _Zombie_. I remember the notorious trial upon which "The Execution" is obviously based. ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Margie rated it it was ok
I have just finished 3 of the 4 stories. The third "Execution" storyline started to sound very familiar to me, so after googling, I found out I HAD heard the story before! JCO's story "borrows heavily" (according to the Wiki page) from the real-life story of Christopher Porco, the only difference being the ending after the trial. It seems lazy for such an acclaimed writer to "borrow heavily" (i.e., copy) from real life and pass it off as her own fiction.

I have actually only read a couple of JCO
Michael Davies
Jul 16, 2014 Michael Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A disturbing quartet of stories that deal with the darker, more obsessive aspects of love. Quite grisly in parts, I enjoyed them all, though I'm still unsure what was going on at the end of the first story! The others were somewhat clearer, if no more cheerful!
Shane Malcolm
Jul 30, 2015 Shane Malcolm rated it liked it
One of the best things about Oates is the breadth of her skills. The horror genre is one of her favorites of recent years, and these four novellas are all chilling in different ways. Not a dud in the batch: fast reads, very engaging.
I have long believed that JCO is brilliant, but not until I read the four novellas in this collection did I know how brilliant she really is. In a few short pages she creates characters so thrillingly alive, they wormed themselves into my brain and got stuck there while I was carrying on the daily business of life. The stories are all about love gone wrong. Horribly wrong in the most ordinary of ways, Greek tragedies long in the making, that explode in a flash of lightening so bright, it illumin ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Steph rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Very, very dark...I love Ms. Oates, but I feel like I've been on a JCO marathon, and there is nothing light about this woman :) Taking a short break from her, but I'll get back to it. She is one of my two favorite authors.
James Perkins
Mar 28, 2015 James Perkins rated it really liked it
This is a collection of four novellas about, as the cover blurb says, "love gone wrong". Yet these are not trite rom-com joyrides, but much darker tales that explore a more sinister side of human nature. You will meet husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, mothers and sons, and a few of their relatives, all with something loose and seething under the surface of their apparently ordinary exteriors. With all four antagonists being psychotic or otherwise disturbed men, a cynic might accuse ...more
Lynn Taylor
Gothic update: especially likes The Execution for narrative stance. Great example of free indirect style.
Still not quite as good as Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, but in the same spirit.
Mar 21, 2014 Grace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
I have always loved Joyce Carol Oates. This novella is chilling and disturbing. The stories make one sit back and really ponder some of the subjects we really don't want to think about.
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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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