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Black Dahlia White Rose: Stories

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,027 Ratings  ·  153 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
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Ecco (first published June 6th 2011)
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Stef Smulders
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
My first experience with this author and definitely a good one. Lots of variety and most stories do keep you curious and wanting to read on. The story selected as one of the best American short stories of 2011, I.D. is absolutely brilliant. As in the first, title, story Oates succeeds in finding the right voice of her character. The author has a sense of the absurd, the weird and of horror and suspense. In some stories I find her going a bit too far, like in the hyena story. There seems to be so ...more
Pamela Scott
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it

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
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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
Aaron Mcquiston
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have read many Joyce Carol Oates books scattered throughout her career, so I kind of know what to expect from her short stories and novels. This is no exception to the rule. The stories in "Black Dahlia & White Rose" all have the tension that something bad is going to happen or that something bad has already happened, and it's only a matter of time before the consequences are revealed. Some of these stories are riveting. Some of these stories are junk. A typical short story collection, but ...more
Una Rose
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Horace Derwent
why, you swedish gummyfishes!!??

why not her, for all those years?

and why not philip roth and cormac mccarthy??

and why mo yan? is china really strong and powerful now? or did the gov confess their slaughering chinese people?

Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I didn't go 5 stars mainly because there were a couple stories that didn't fit, or seemed to try too hard. Maybe 4.5. The stories were rich, haunting and disturbing without anything actually happening. Several, I wanted to see as novels or at least novellas. They drew me in. All the characters were so rich and their flaws so real, or so unexpected. Had she taken out three of the stories it would have been perfection and added a little length to a couple. Brilliant book.
This has been on my to-read for a while and I really like Joyce Carol Oates, but also am not a huge fan of short stories and so have been kind of dragging my feet. I wanted something a bit light (this is not it) and short stories seemed like a good plan right now as my attention span has been limited. Overall the stories are okay, but I wasn't really overwhelmed by any of them. Oates collects them in sections; each of which addresses a feminist topic.

Section 1: Black Dahlia & White Rose: Thi
Jun 05, 2017 marked it as dnf
I don't want to rate this because I've only read about 20-25%, but ugh, I had to write up something about it, at least to remind myself in the future of why I didn't finish this.

I've wanted to read Joyce Carol Oates for so long I can't even remember why I first put some of her books on my TBR. I found this collection for $1 a year or so ago and was very excited to finally check out her writing. I was even happier to have found a collection of short stories--instead of a novel--first, because I g
Mary Taitt
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't like it very much, too much scary stuff and violence against women. The stories were well-written but depressing. I usually like Joyce Carol Oates, but this is my least favorite so far. (Will not read again).
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, women
I read this book for a few reasons. One, I really wanted to read the title story and thought I'd knock off an Oates offering while doing so, as if I'll ever catch up to her while she's still alive. Two, I was hankering for a short story collection, but was feeling too lazy and uninspired to venture into unfamiliar territory. Three, it was available in ebook from the Denver Public Library. A very inspired choice.

"Black Dahlia & White Rose," the aforementioned story that prompted all of this,
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it
When it comes to horror films I'll classify two distinct types: the slasher and the supernatural. Obviously there are more sub-genres and types, and these two aforementioned types overlap (Jason and Micheal Myers were almost immortal, so the slasher was supernatural, and many supernatural horror films do not skimp on blood and guts).

The reason I bring this up is that we can do the same break down when it comes to literature. While Oates and Ligotti both write atmospheric horror tales, they coul
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Raul Clement
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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?

Eleanor Levine
Jul 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Good collection of short stories, some out there with hyenas, some in there with ghosts. She has a satirical thing about pharmaceutical company lawyers. Sometimes she is in Ocean County, NJ, and other times Los Angeles. CA. Readable, and if not, move on, it's easy, to another story. Love the one about the college graduation where a son (who was born out of wedlock), graduating with honors, sees his biological father (who is receiving an honorary doctorate), and doesn't say hi to him.
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I wish I could rate each individual story in this book. Some were spectacular, while others fell short of the mark. Most of the stories did leave you wanting more - wanting some kind of conclusion or at least more resolution. I do love Oates writing style and how she captures the individual voice of each character within her stories.
Diana Long
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Really out of my comfort zone with this read. It is creative, some of the stories are more complex than others, some don't really have an ending (which leaves you to speculate). I found this read disturbing, sometimes disgusting, often chilling and just plain creepy.
Vel Veeter
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cbr-9
I remember being a college junior in 2002 and being in a Faulkner class. We were talking about who were the “real deal” writers in America. In 2002, the big ones were Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, and(since this was a Faulkner class so we’re not getting too crazy) EL Doctorow. When someone asked about Joyce Carol Oates, the professor just said the same thing that I would say about Philip Roth, John Updike, and a few others: I can’t trust someone who’s written that much.

And this is one of those
Nancy Groves
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
As often with a collection of stories, some appealed to me more than others, but overall I liked it. All of them are on the gothic side, and the theme of death runs through them, whether it's an account of a gruesome killing narrated by the victim, simply the suggestion that a missing woman might have been killed, or a widow wondering if she'll see someone, presumably her late husband's ghost, during a shift as a volunteer teacher in a prison (her husband had not been an inmate, but apparently t ...more
Linda Lipko
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with the writings of this author. There are instances when after reading one of her books, I swear never to read another, and then find one I haven't read and bring it home.

This is a set of short stories, each different, but alike it the typical noir of her writing style. The title is taken from the first story of Elizabeth Short, aka The murdered woman known as The Black Dahlia. The unsolved mystery remains to haunt. I'm not sure if Elizabeth was a room m
Kristen C
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
So this is one of those books that I picked up reading the blurb on the library website only and wasn't at all what I expected. Given the title, I was expecting a sort of historical fiction built around the Black Dahlia murder. And I did get that, but this isn't a single story. It's a collection of short stories that really delves into the psyche of everyday people, exploring the relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, and all the thoughts we all have on some level (not e ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
This is a perfect example of "this is really good, but not for me"

The stories "The Good Samaritan" and "Spotted Hyenas" and "Deceit" and "Hey Dad" were all remarkable, and arguable 9-10's/10. This book hit me into the "bookatory" where I wasn't that into it, but also was too into it to give up and start reading something else. I just didn't feel like picking up this book and jumping into JCO's sad, real, disturbing and uncomfortable world that much at all. I got anxious reading about other reade
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
If I was back in my college days where close-reading was something I enjoyed doing, then I probably would've enjoyed these stories more. Now that I am regrettably adulting all the time, I am just looking for creepy stories, and these were not creepy enough for me; the glimpses she brought to her reader fell short for me, although there were many instances where I was enthralled by her writing and her vast vocabulary!
Joyce Peak
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love books by Joyce Carol Oates. I generally do not read short stories, but these are worth it. One important question you will have the answer to after reading one of these stories is, "What are you after you are post-mortem?
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite JCO by far, but guaranteed a disturbing and dark read. The titular story is definitely the strongest, so I was expecting more on those topics and characters that this collection didn't deliver.
Mike Hovis
Dec 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried this audio book because I'd never read anything by Joyce Carol Oates. I wanted to see if I liked her writing before investing time in reading her material. Her style is not for me. I know others may love her writing. It's just a preference thing with me.
Barbara Williams
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Didn't complete book
Karina Maza-gildea
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
So many different characters in the short stories in this book. The theme is pretty dark but interesting. I really enjoyed them all.
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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
“is joy in life, a terrible joy. There is joy for the taking if you are not afraid.” 1 likes
“Maybe he’d been mistaken, trying so hard to make his wife and young children happy. Maybe it’s always a mistake, trying to assure the happiness of others.” 1 likes
More quotes…