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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  4,701 ratings  ·  162 reviews
The sixties and seventies witnessed the emergence of Joyce Carol Oates as one of America's foremost writers of the short story. In 1962, 'The Fine White Mist of Winter, ' composed when the author was 19 years old, appeared in The Literary Review and was selected for both the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories of that year.

By the north gate: Edge of the world ;
Hardcover, 522 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Ontario Review Press (first published October 1966)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve owned this book for a long time, but for the longest time had only (re)read the title story. Recently, someone had mentioned a specific passage from the story, so I went to this volume to look for it and ended up rereading the whole story. At the same time, I’d also heard of a couple of Oates’ retellings, a Chekhov and a James Joyce, that happen to be included here as well; I read those. Looking at the table-of-contents, I figured her “The Turn of the Screw” would be a retelling of the Henr ...more
Shades of Flannery O'Connor with this white knuckle title story that will have you squirming. Not recommended for young ladies who are home alone.
I've read the title story but I'm not sure what other (early) stories of hers I've read. Liked that story, though Joyce Carol Oates' stuff is sometimes so edgy and raw it's like trying to swallow razor blades.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
"'The place where you came from ain't there any more, and where you had in mind to go is cancelled out. This place you are now- inside your daddy's house- is nothing but a cardboard box I can knock down any time. You know that and always did know it. You hear me?'"

This is a really creepy little story about the duality of the teenaged mind and the vulnerability that comes along with that. So much tension is excellently built up over the course of the plot, and so much is told about in Connie that
Roxy Smith
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Oates has me convinced that I’m in the story with her characters, they are standing next to me and I can feel their fear, their irritation and even their sadness. In WAYG we get to go inside the head of Connie, a young impressionable teenager who is more concerned about her looks than her own safety, when Arnold Friend shows up at her house her first instinct is to look at herself in the mirror even though she has no idea who this strange boy is. Through Connie’s description of him, we know some ...more
Elle (TheBookishActress)
No stars. This is literally my least favorite thing I've read in my entire life. It gave me 300000 nightmares.

I might consider that a good thing, except the story is just an allegory about virginal purity. The brilliant symbolism here? Her house is a vagina. Her house. Is a vagina. HE is a metaphor for a dick. Do you know how fucked up this story is?

Also, terrifying me about the possibility of rape? Not something that deserves any stars whatsoever.

God, I feel gross even talking about this. Ne
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I saw "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" on a list of best short stories and sought it out. It is a creepy, tense story about a teenage girl who skips a family outing to stay home alone, but she gets an unexpected visitor. The story gave me chills.
Willa Guadalupe Grant
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I picked this up at the library, totally forgetting that I had read it years ago 'til I started to read. I didn't much like this book, I just don't care for her stories & I can't tell you why. They are well written but after reading anything from this author I feel depressed & like my soul is grubby. Bleh says I. ...more
Sarah Ulrey
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Oh boy this was creepy. I love this woman, but don't read her if you're struggling with any emotions unless you want them to get deeper and blacker. Her prose will consume you.
Yasmeen Zahzah
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review is dedicated entirely to the title story. I've read a few of Oates' stories, however, this story is one of my favorite short stories ever. It combines two elements that truly serve (in my opinion) to engross the reader: the unspoken and timelessness. The story is grotesque and captivating in that so much of what happens or how it happens is never actually mentioned, which is definitely engaging. The reader is therefore pushed into making their own judgments, allowing only their imagi ...more
Julia Gorning
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This story has stuck with me because Connie's character resonates so well with my teenage self. Feeling like you live a dual-life for self-presentation, vanity, a harsh desire for recklessness, yet hesitancy to leave the security of family.. all culminated in a nightmarish encounter. A fable-like story warning to be careful what you wish for. Perhaps most disturbingly, the story is based off a real murderer who got to know everything about each of his victims after pretending to be a high school ...more
Christine Whittington
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection; the title story was beautifully and creepily filmed as "Smooth Talk" with Laura Dern. Oates excels at bringing out the macabre in every day life, e.g. what happens when a 15-year-old girl. as Roger Ebert notes, "flirts in the wrong places." This book, and especially this story, will resonate with those who have had a few close encounters of the wrong kind in our teen years. The menacing stranger in the story was loosely based on a real character, Charles Schmid, "The Pied P ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had to pick one word that links all of the short stories in this collection, that word would be yearning. Oates is a master of getting into people's heads and knowing what it is they yearn for and how they yearn for it. The emotional tone of these stories is quite broad. From touching to frightening, Oates can evoke it all vividly. For stories written at the earlier part of her writing career, they are extremely impressive. She really started out a master.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Masterful writing. She subtly builds the tension in the story in such a way that you don't realize your nerves are on edge until the end of the story. Fantastic story telling. That the story is based on real events adds a extra dimension of creepiness.
Connie could be anyone's 15 year old daughter. This story is a really poignant social commentary about the impact of hyper-sexualized popular film and music on on adolescent children's perceptions about sex and love.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing

"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" may be my favorite short story of all time. I remember being stunned by its darker themes and originality when I first read it in college. I don't know what gave rise to the idea for the story in Oates's mind, but the deeper feelings behind it - and my own interpretions - have stayed with me many years down the road.
Chris Mascaro
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a surprising like for me. I liked the story lines of most the stories, and they are easy to read and have a lot of 'thinking' and depth to the plots.

I had to read this for a class, and thought I would end up skimming this. It was definitely enjoyable.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The pacing of this short story is phenomenal...and disturbing. Quite haunting.
Larry Bassett
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: great for JCO short story fans
Shelves: short-stories
This is a good book to experience JCO short stories from the 1960s and 1970s. It has twenty-five selected stories from her six collected works of those decades at the beginning of her writing career.

1963: By the North Gate
1966: Upon the Sweeping Flood
1970: The Wheel of Love
1972: Marriages and Infidelities
1974: The Goddess and Other Women
1977: Night-Side

There are also two uncollected works written during that time period and an interesting four page Afterword by the author written at
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
JCO writes beautifully. She must be a visual writer the kind that creates vivid images in the reader's head.
Russell Bittner
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If Henry James is the master of psychological realism, Joyce Carol Oates is its mistress. And I, for one, find Professor Oates’s prose far less tedious and eminently more readable.

In metaphysics, there’s an age-old rhetorical question: “How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?” I’ve frankly never cared for any discussion of the question — hence, to my mind at least, it remains rhetorical. A possible corollary where Ms. Oates’s stories are concerned, however, might well be “In how many ways
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took a couple re-reads of the short story to understand what was going on. Connie is an interesting character, battling with her boundaries and where she stands in the world. When she is left home alone and a man named Arnold Friend dives up to her house, she begins to see a darker side of the world.
This story was intriguing, and definitely worth the read. It is short enough to read in one sitting, although it is packed full of events. I loved the complexity of the story, and how more and mo
Zombieslayer/Alienhunter {comatose with common sense}
Where are you going?
To a better year with better books.
Where have you been?
A reality where I lied to myself about finishing this book all the time but haven't touched it since February.

I read the first six stories. I only even remotely liked the last one, and it wasn't awful, but i'm just not feeling it with Oates.
I have short story issues in general (actually trying to finish one collection as we speak to get if off my currently-reading and its late ass the fuck back to the library) and when th
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
THe most amazing short stories, indelible.
Mar 10, 2012 added it
This was another attempt at short stories. I only read a few, none of which captured my interest much. I think I should stick to novels.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Has a very creepy feel to it, almost like a horror movie. So much confusion in it but allows you to interpret things in many different ways.
Paul LaFontaine
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Did not like this story. A lot of reasons, the power dynamic of the guy and the girl was not fun. The characters were not interesting. Did not connect with this one.
Ece Ogutcen
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Review of “ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been ?” by Joyce Carol Oates

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” (1966) is a psychological thriller short story written by Joyce Carol Oates. It clearly criticizes the sexual revolution in the 60’s by giving the motif of 60’s songs, which are affected by the revolution. The story is mainly about a young girl named Connie, who likes her physical appearance a lot, and a guy who is obsessed with her in a dangerous way. In the story, the mot
Nathan Tarnowski
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been is a nice little short story that is full of underlying meanings and themes. On the surface, it’s a story about a girl having a weird conversation with a stranger at her front door, but going deeper themes of freedom and independence pop up.

The plot involves a 15 year old girl named Connie being home alone one Sunday as her family is at a barbeque. A stranger arrives in a brightly colored convertible and introduces himself as Arnold Friend, and he has a c
Bailey Peyton
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having seen the film Smooth Talk (based off the title tale) I kind of knew what I was getting into when this arrived. But nothing quite prepared me for the horror that is Joyce Carol Oates. Not bodily horror, but the unease/tension felt with each character. Many of these stories deal with restless/recklessness of youth (particularly burgeoning girlhood), as well as disillusionment over checklist events in life (i.e marriage/children). One reviewer said something along the lines of don't read thi ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t sleep last night. In the dark, I surfed through my twitter account just to see what was going on. There was a thread which asked people to name short horror stories which are still haunting them this day. Two people mentioned “Where are you going, where have you been?” The name alone was intriguing enough. I quickly searched google to find where I could read this story. I found a pdf file where you can read the story for free. I started reading right away, at 5am. Ten minutes in, I wa ...more
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So, Did Connie die at the end? 3 10 Oct 04, 2017 05:13PM  
Goodreads Librari...: several different books combined 11 42 Jul 15, 2014 05:50AM  
What's the Name o...: Literature Class [s] 8 57 Aug 25, 2011 06:05AM  

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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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