Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong
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Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  366 ratings  ·  95 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...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Mysterious Press (first published December 4th 2012)
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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
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
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...more
Julie Bryant
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
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...more
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
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.
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.

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...more
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
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.
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...more
Shane Malcolm
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.
Joyce Carol Oates can be a hit or miss with me, but where she always excels is in the short story and gothic format. Evil Eye consists of four novellas, each a little more disturbing than the one before. They are twisted, creepy and weird but all are riveting. Are they nightmare inducing? Perhaps for some readers they could be, but I slept just fine!

In the title story, Evil Eye, Marianna is recently married to a three decades older man, Austin. When his first wife drops in for a visit she learns...more
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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...more
Mark Flowers
SLJ review:

OATES, Joyce Carol. Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong. 224p. Mysterious Pr.: Grove/Atlantic. 2013. Tr $23. ISBN 9780802120472.

Adult/High School–Oates’s strengths as a popular (as opposed to literary) writer tend to come out most strongly in her short fiction, such as The Museum of Dr. Moses (Harcourt, 2007), and these four novellas are no exception. Each of these stridently feminist tales centers on the reactions of female lovers–plus, in one case, a male child–to the violent...more
I haven't received my copy yet, just received notice I had won. 9/2/13
Received my copy and hope to start soon. I have 4 others plus my current read in front. 9/13/13
Started 9/18/13
Finished 9/20/13

"Four chilling tales of love gone horribly wrong" First story: current wife meets ex wife. Second story: shy teen meets controlling older boy. Third story: Spoiled college student gets back at parents, and Fourth story: Girl suffers in current relationship due to past abuse.

Normally I would give a litt...more
Dean Anderson
In the first of four stories, in this little thriller anthology, one of the characters references an episode of “The Twilight Zone”. The story has hints of the supernatural and the reader may begin to suspect the book will a collection of stories that could have been presented on the classic Rod Sterling series. But soon one sees we’re not in the twilight zone, but in the world of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”.
In that other classic anthology series, the supernatural was occasionally implied but n...more
Michael Estey
Four believable horror stories, of love/life, everything, all gone wrong. The type of stories you've heard about but never would have experienced, hopefully. They are real life horror situations, no matter what you might want to believe.

Infact, stories most people don't even want to talk about let alone to acknowledge it exists. Incest, child molestation, and suicide. Stuff that make your skin crawl.

I picked this book because of it's cover, it caught my eye. Finding out later that two of the nov...more
I just finished this book. Wow! I have read numerous Oates' books in the past and she is a writer who "researches her subject well". I had not read any reviews previous to plucking this off the library shelf, but I read several really good reviews today and liked them.

Sep 10, 2013 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: favorites
I'm never disappointed reading Oates. Twisted and dark, these four tales look at the grotesque side of love. We hear the internal dialogue of each narrator, the languag...more
I received a free copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This series of short stories was just OK. I don't enjoy short stories as much as I do a full-length novel, but I do believe that this might be my favorite book of short stories I have read to date (which isn't saying much - I try to avoid collections of short stories as much as possible. Not to mention, I have read some pretty terrible short stories). Joyce Carol Oates definitely knows how to tell a story and I enjoy her wri...more
Sep 16, 2013 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of dark literary fiction
The subtitle of this latest collection may be somewhat misleading; none of the characters begin with a sort of love that is particularly "right," but things certainly go wrong for all of them. And although the stories in Evil Eye may not be quite novella-length, Oates doesn't waste a single word.

The title story is a Gothic "Bluebeard" meets "The Twilight Zone" (an episode of which actually figures in), though with a more ambiguous ending than the fairy tale or a typical episode of the TV show....more
four novellas on love gone wrong. oates has a knack of creating horror in the most benign settings. . . the first story was interesting enough but ended without closure, a tendency of oates that have always been sort of annoyed by. but the second segment, 'so near any time always' was effectively creepy and probably the best of the four. it involves a teenaged girl who becomes entangled in a twisted relationship that results in her being stalked, but it is what is revealed after the stalker is k...more

In this short book of four novellas, Oates shows why she has become one of the best story writers in our time. Her stories tend to be a little on the creepy side without once talking about the horror genre's typical monsters. The monsters in her books are the every day people around us.

In Evil Eye, a young woman is married to a gentleman who is 30 years her senior. He is ego-maniacal and while he doesn't physically abuse Mariana he does torture her verbally.

The Execution is about a young boy wh...more
Beth Ann
This book of 4 novellas of "love gone wrong" was a well written and interesting book to pick up on a rainy afternoon. The stories, all differently themed, were well written with characters who were believable even if some were detestable. Nice quick read with short selections that kind of made me want more.
Joan Colby
. Like many prolific authors, Oates has misses as well as hits. These novellas fall somewhere in between with the exception of “Execution” which is quite riveting, told from the convincing point of view of the young patricide, a study in narcissim and sociopathy. Oates has an uncanny talent for inhabiting disturbed characters.
This is Oates at her gothic-tinged best, in four long-ish short stories full of menace and unease. The title story is by far the best - so unsettling and ambiguous that it kept me thinking about it all day - but each of these pieces is very strong and deliciously dark, exploring the use and abuse of power in relationships.
A domineering husband seemingly drives his new fourth wife to question her own sanity; a teenage girl is stalked by a clingy and unstable older boy; a spoiled rich kid decides...more
Four somewhat scary and creepy novellas or short stories. I don't read much horror, and these didn't seem too horrible, actually fairly mild. And a couple were very predictable. My big questions is, "When does Oates have time to get to know people to base her characters on?" She is the most prolific author of all time; I can't imagine her doing anything other then WRITE. And I don't think she has children, so how did she learn what makes young people tick, specifically the teenage girl and 20-so...more
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Intense, dark, violent, intimate. Plenty of interesting narrative devices going on. Gripping, and amply delivering on the promise of darkness and obsession made by the collection's subtitle.
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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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