The Assignation
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The Assignation

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  276 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In this sexy, racy collection of short prose takes by a master of the form, Joyce Carol Oates makes her own appointment with character and event--a sort of extended sequential reverie that surprises and sometimes shocks, but always satisfies.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 19th 1999 by HarperCollins (first published 1988)
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Larry Bassett
This book gives new meaning to the “short” story! Forty-four stories in one book, and a thin book at that. I like JCO and I like short stories. They fit my attention span, something that can be quite short. I like to read a whole story in one sitting and be ready to do it again next time.

Sometimes when I read JCO I don’t try too hard to understand the story. It can be just the words. The stories in The Assignation are about relationships and interactions. (So – big deal – what else is life about...more
Hannah
This book seems to read like that game you play when you make up stories about random strangers you see when people watching, Brief glimpses into the lives of rather anonymous people. I enjoyed it enough to get through it but some of the stories were a little too morbid for my tastes. All in all, I intend to continue reading her.
Sarah Pierce
This author can do no wrong in my eyes. I bought this in a secondhand book store in Cleveland. It’s a collection of very short stories, all dealing with the drama of a “normal” life. The woman is a master.
Jamie
May 20, 2009 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Oates fans, anyone who loves short/flash fiction, the morbid, the depressed
Shelves: short-stories
Wow. After having read both "Blonde" (which I loved, but need to re-read now) and "I Am No One You Know," I was beginning to wonder what all the Oates-fuss was about. The latter I mention, the short stories (which are allegedly her forte), were good, but primarily nothing to write home to mom about. There were a few truly powerful standouts among those stories, but many that sizzled and never really broke through to greatness.

This collection, however, really displays Oates' masterful use of pros...more
Holly
It's hard to rate an entire collection of stories because, inevitably, I liked some more than others. And actually there were a whole bunch that I really didn't care for -- characters that I couldn't relate to, literary gimmicks I can't stand, like using just an initial for a name (Ex: "N. did thus and such.") Just pick a name or use pronouns! And there was a lot of stream of consciousness narrative... with varying success.

But then there are stories that I really like, such as "Tick," which ble...more
Kelly Hager
This is a collection of short stories (crazy short, really; there are 44 in this collection, and the book isn't even 200 pages). I'm generally not a huge fan of short stores; I prefer novels and the thicker the novel, the better.

But this book was different. Instead of reading like a set of short stories, it seemed more like reading a collection of chapters.

I enjoyed reading them, but wished that some of them had been a little more fleshed out. I would read novels of any of these stories, actual...more
Elaine
Very short stories (no more than five pages and one story is one sentence long ) from a writer who can grip the essence of emotion quickly and describe characters so well , we can feel their angst. Stories all surrond the concept of needing love, not getting it, or getting it in perverse and unhealty ways. In every story the characters were ambiguous in their thoughts and feelings,. Many stories left you hanging and trying to figure out how they might end. If you have never read anything from Jo...more
Nathan Isherwood
Joyce Carol Oates is a fucking machine. No seriously, the woman runs on oil and scrap metal. Isn't it amazing, though, that a prolific creature such as this manages to churn out some fantastic prose, all without sunlight or oxygen? Most of these stories are short, very short, and simple. Therein lies the charm, I'd say. If you're a fan of short fiction, you owe it to yourself to pick this up and give it a whirl. You'll be amazed at what kind of power and earnestness the woman can pack into such...more
Lindsey
These are 44 short narratives, glimpses into people's lives during key moments. "Tick" is especially powerful in its examination of how one small incident, in this case the presence of a stubborn arachnid, can cause someone to alter their life's trajectory. In typical Oates' style, these mini stories examine fear, lust and death. A lot of them use stream of consciousness, and most of them work, but some left me confused and irritated. Stories that deserve a closer reading are Tick, Assignation,...more
Cathryn
I could drown in Joyce Carol Oates writing, and The Assignation is no exception. It's hard to rate a collection of stories because inevitably some strike a louder chord than others. Based on the lingering chills from Shelter and Visitation Rights, the book is absolutely five stars.

Every single story evoked some form of yearning, melancholy, anxiety, fear, beauty, loss, or obsession. Brilliant.
Heather
Well, crud, grad school starts up again and there go all of my priorities. I finished this book last month and still no review! For shame.

OK, this was an amazing read. Oates has an incredibly authentic voice and is a terrific writer. More than anything, however, her understanding of the human psyche is unmatched. The woman is a genius.
Cherie
A- Really good stories--slice of life styles. Don't expect neat little tied up endings or even understanding who the characters are--but expect to read some good writing with brief glimpses into the human psyche. Fascinating. JCO at her best.
Sandra Proto
I really enjoyed these short stories. Joyce Carol Oates supplied enough information to engage the reader in the complex characters and situations. But she also gave room for discovery that the reader could explore.
Kristin
This compilation is fantastic. Oates is so good at taking utterly small slices of life and turning them into completely compelling narrative. I look to this book as a guide to the mastering of the short story genre.
James Sheasley
The author is an astounding wordsmith and character creator. The collection provides brief glimpses into the lives of individuals whose existences are both mundane and extraordinary, sometimes simultaneously.
Brianne
AMAZING, one of her absolute best collections. some of the briefest and most perfectly written pieces of fiction i've ever read
Edward Creter
Oates sends us her shortest stories==short, sweet and very to the point! Add to your Oates collection NOW!
Reba
One of my absolute favorite books. Very short short stories that disturb.
Cathy
After all these years, I still think about the story "Tick."
Kelly Applegate
My favorite Oates collection of short stories
monica
El reading. Condensed and often sharp shorts.
Michael
Taut, timeless, classic JCO.
Keepitplainjane
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Sep 15, 2014
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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
More about Joyce Carol Oates...
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