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Black Dahlia & White Rose: Stories

(L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories #4)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,113 ratings  ·  167 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
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Ecco (first published June 6th 2011)
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 ·  1,113 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Stef Smulders
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition

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 G
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
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.
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?

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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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,
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, fiction-adult
I'm so disappointed because I wanted to like this, but it was only "okay." The first story, Black Dahlia & White Rose was probably my favorite because it explored the murder of Elizabeth Short from her point of view, but it also explored perspectives from Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe and a man who was more interested in Norma Jean than her, etc. I especially enjoyed the way it was written, which was refreshing... This first story is available to read online: ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vel Veeter
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Linda Lipko

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
May 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dropped
I’m totally done with this book after 2 short stories.

The writing style is horrible! And the story? No proper beginning nor proper ending to it. It’s just a huge lots of scribbles that had not been edited nor proof read. Stuffs gets repeated throughout the short chapter. I guess if the repetitive information were removed, each chapter can be just under 10 pages.

I picked up this book because I am always interested in stories about The Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short. However this book failed to pr
Megan Jones
Yup, just two 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
May 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
I dunno. Most of the stories start out interestingly enough, but then it gets bogged down midway through with details that just seem to go over the same thoughts for a good long while, bogging down the previous positive start, and ultimately ending with a highly unsatisfying cop-out of an ending. I suppose the author wants us to feel the buildup of emotions is the important part, but I think if you can't end the story well, maybe it should have been rethought better.

I enjoyed the one about the b
Eleanor Levine
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.
Raul Clement
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?

Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Read" isn't the right word as I discontinued this book very early on. Oates often writes dark, disturbing, violent novels and it sounded like this could be one of them, judging from the description of a murdered girl at the very beginning. In addition, I listened to the audio version. The breathiness of the reader portraying Marilyn Monroe was very hard to take, though that seems to be how she actually did speak.
David Macpherson
Why do I do this to myself. I have now read four Oates books and have only liked one. Why do I think that this time, this time, I will get the fuss about her and dig her stories. This collection was very long or it felt that way. I felt every scene was overwritten, that every story could have been half the size. But that maybe just me wanting to get it over with quicker. The sad thing is I will probably try another of her books one of these days. Pity me.
Bruce Johnson
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.
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.
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Strangely, I've never read any of Joyce Carol Oates' work until this collection of short stories. And....meh. Maybe it wasn't the best place to start with her fiction. I only read four of the stories before totally losing interest. I'm thinking I may try and reboot, checking out "We Were the Mulvaneys" instead and see if that takes a better hold. I'm open to suggestions!
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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

Other books in the series

L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories (8 books)
  • The Girl (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #1)
  • See the Woman (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #2)
  • Naked Angel (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #3)
  • School For Murder (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #5)
  • What's In A Name? (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #6)
  • Hell of an Affair (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #7)
  • Postwar Boom (L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, #8)
“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.” 2 likes
“is joy in life, a terrible joy. There is joy for the taking if you are not afraid.” 1 likes
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