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The Pursuit

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  369 ratings  ·  115 reviews

As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night, in which she wandered through a field ridden with human skulls and bones. Now an adult, Abby thinks she's outgrown her demons, until, the evening before her wedding, the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband, Willem. The

Kindle Edition
Published October 3rd 2019 by Head of Zeus
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A Sad and Dark Mystery!

A young woman of twenty suffers from horrible nightmares but she is looking forward to her future with Willem, her husband of one day. On this morning (the day after her wedding) Abby is hit by the bus that she had just stepped off from. While Abby is convalescing from her traumatic injuries in the hospital, a background story is told of all the events that had caused her to have the nightmares that have plagued her throughout her life and then Willem discovers that he did
Eyes open. Eyes shut.

Nightmares have a way of seeping into the cracks.

Abby Hayman has been suffering from the same haunting, repetitious nightmares for years. Her brain sorts through the carnage of endless treks through grassy fields and the horror of what lays tangled in the weeds. Waking exhausted, she stumbles through her day only to return to the same mind channel again and again.

But Abby has met someone at the County Services where she is employed in Hammond, New York. She specializes in
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oates never retreats from delving deeply into the dark recesses of the traumatised psyche. Not for the faint of heart. Gritty, tense and brutal.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: release-2019
4 This might be a short book but it packed a whole lot of punch. It explores main character Abby’s life, starting with a nightmarish dream of skeletons in a field the night before her wedding, leading up to her horrific accident the day after the wedding, questioning was it “accidental or purposeful.” The story is then told in alternating storylines of her family history and childhood, disturbing and intense I had to step away from reading several times. The different POV of the mother, father, ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Haunting, disturbing, and seriously bleak.

I wanted to like this more (but it’s hard to enjoy a book that deals with this kind of cruelty). The story of Abby is not necessarily engaging. I could not get behind her or Willem and their relationship. It was weird to me. She’s so meek and mild, and he’s such a neurotic, cloying child... it came off odd. I was curious to know more of Abby’s history, as well as the reason behind her “accident”, but the whole of it was not handled coherently.

Joyce Carol
Kasa Cotugno
Joyce Carol Oates. Having been a follower for over 40 years, I am completely in awe of her output, her stamina, the sheer genius of her plotting and range of her topics. It is difficult to separate the creation from the creator in much of her work. I read recently of how sometimes she gets clarity while out running. Running. And she's over 80 years old. Someone recently told me he saw her in a TSA line, in which he was feeling smug about the fact that he was reading a book, only to see her ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a dark mystery, not just in its plot but in the characterisation of some deeply vulnerable and disturbed people. Most of the time I wasn't sure who to believe with four different POVs competing for the underlying truth. I stopped trying to resolve this mystery and just had to go with the flow. This was the antithesis of a page turner, I didn't really want to know what happened next, but of course, it is human nature to keep reading. In the end it wasn't as bad as my imagined fears, but ...more
Anna Luce
3 stars

The Pursuit is depressing, even by Joyce Carol Oates standards.

“Early on the morning of her wedding day. Before dawn she is wakened from the dream with a jolt. The skeleton dream she had reason to believe she’d outgrown, vivid before her staring eyes.”

Joyce Carol Oates' chameleon-like ability to shift between writing styles is one of the reasons why even whe she returns to themes she has previously explored her books have always some innovative element to them.
In The Pursuit Oates
Bri | bribooks
Joyce Carol Oates is back (though she never left) with a short novel of dark suspense that explores the life and inner psychology of Abby, a young newlywed. The morning after her wedding she steps in front of a bus, landing herself in the intensive care unit. Why would she do such a thing? And why is she haunted by a dream of discovering two skeletons in a field of tall grass?

For the first tenth or so of this long novella I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, for the characters took some time to grow
Lisa Leone-campbell
Abby has just met and married the man of her dreams. But as her wedding fast approaches she begins to feel as if she does not deserve to be happy. She finds herself having confusing nightmares about skeletons and awful feelings of dread.

Then, less than 24 hours after she has married, Abby steps off and is hit by a bus causing her to almost die. As her husband Willem sits lovingly by her side and waits for her to wake up, he can’t help but wonder if his wife accidentally or intentionally caused
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Joyce Carol Oates has long been on my list of authors to try. So I finally did, and read this novel about a woman who gets married but steps in front of a bus, trying to flee the voices in her head. The rest of the short novel is about the voices and really shifts off of who I thought would be the main character. I'm not sure if this is typical of JCO but I found the pacing to be a little uneven and the violence to be more than I usually like in books. But she may just not be for me.

ETA: When I
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The nightmare has plagued Abby since childhood. Skeletons in a field. The skulls in the grass. She thought the dream was finally gone for good, but on the eve of her wedding, it returns. In a panic, strange thoughts flooding her head, Abby runs off a city bus and is struck by a car. While recuperating, she opens up to her new husband, Willem. There are so many secrets....

This story is suspenseful and builds slowly, revealing Abby's life little bit by little bit. It isn't an exciting, edge of
Oct 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I really didn't like the writing style of this book. It's the first time I've read Joyce Carol Oates and I'm not going to pick up any more works of hers. I didn't like any of the characters, and didn't find it very thrilling or horrific. There's really nothing good that I can say about this.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars--I can't say I really LIKED reading this book, but wow it was effective. Warnings for sexual assault and domestic abuse.

Joyce Carol Oates is my favorite non-horror horror writer. She really knows how to make me suffer for her characters. Reading her books, for me, is to experience that sinking-gut feeling the whole way through.

This is a short, brutal little book about some really horrible things. But it's not gratuitous violence, and its strength is in how much it makes you feel for the
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of Joyce Carol Oates' short stories (Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been is deliciously suspenseful and psychologically nuanced) but not necessarily her novels. Good thing for me, then, that The Pursuit seems more of a long short story than a fully-fleshed novel.

A character who has renamed herself Abby has spooky dreams about a field of skulls and bones. Her new husband, Willem, a devout Christian, marries her without doubts or questions despite the fact that he has never met her
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pursuit is a short book, but an intense one. Young, conservative Abby is haunted by nightmares. The day after she marries Willem, she runs out of a bus and into traffic. The question the doctors have--and the one that haunts Willem--is whether this was on purpose. Willem is naive, the product of a regimented upbringing by a strict and self-righteous fundamentalist Christian family that says no to everything remotely fun, and has no idea what Abby is hiding.

As Abby heals slowly, in fits and
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The family-less, agnostic Abby marries Willem despite his deeply Christian family and his own religiosity. The morning after the wedding, before the marriage has even been consummated, Abby steps under a bus on her way to work. Was is it an attempted suicide or an accident brought about by her distraction of mind? As she lies in hospital, firstly in a coma and then in various decreasing levels of care, we learn in a long flashback of the nightmare childhood that led her to this place. Once she ...more
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my attempt to read something related to the Halloween scare season - no ghosts unless skeletons count?
Of course this author is very talented, but it was a hard sell. It requires believing a man just married without really knowing much about his wife to be a very, very patient and true partner no matter how dark her past...a deeply buried past.
Are there such men?
Read the book and see what you think. It is original and not too long.

Library Loan
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This was intense. It’s such a short book, practically a novella, yet it packs a potent emotional punch, pretty much as you would expect from a tale of a relationship gone very very wrong. Skeletons, though not in the proverbial closet, but still…skeletons, skeletal remains haunt a new bride, tearing away at her until she steps into the traffic. She survives, but the question is will she be able to properly recover, not just physically, but also mentally. And then the readers are taken into ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Abby Hayman has not had an easy life. When her parents disappeared when she was 5 years old, she went to live with an aunt, who had troubles of her own. Abby grew up confused by her memories of things she had been too young to understand. She has a recurring dream of walking in a field of skeletons, which she finds completely terrorizing. She’s 20 years old now and has just married William Zengler, a devout Christian who is madly in love with her. That makes it all the more difficult to ...more
Tonstant Weader
The morning after her wedding, Abby steps in front of a bus. Was that a moment of distraction or self-destruction? We don’t know and neither does her new husband Willem. During her long recovery, Willem probes her nightmares and her past to try to understand. He is in pursuit of the truth while Abby has long been in pursuit of belonging and escape from that history Willem is so anxious to uncover.

Pursuit slowly uncovers Abby’s traumatic history, growing up in the care of relatives. Her favorite
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing, sad, haunting story! Touches on PTSD, abuse, a man’s obsession that in his eyes he owns his family! Told from a little girl’s memories and from a young woman’s nightmares.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
'Here is the mistake: to have given into happiness. She will be punished now.'

Abby had hoped that becoming Mrs. Willem Zengler could save her, the damned, the cursed. Is it possible to cup happiness in both hands and drink from it? When she closes her eyes to sleep, it is always there, the bones, the horror. Love can’t chase that away, nor could protection. It always finds her, and the past won’t let her go. As a new bride she steps into
Alison Hardtmann
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
A young woman, on the day after her wedding, steps in front of a bus. As she lays in a coma in the hospital her husband sits by her side, praying for her recovery. Was her action deliberate or accidental? And why might a young woman do such a thing? When Willem meets Abby, he's intrigued. She's kind and very, very shy. She's also extraordinarily innocent, something that appeals to Willem, a young man devoted to his fundamentalist faith. But why is Abby so withdrawn and passive? Could Willem be ...more
Judy G
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why hasnt Joyce Carol Oates been awarded major prizes for her writing? Why?
This is as usual one scary deep tale. Exquisite writing. She is one of the great masters of the tale and she knows her genre. This as usual for her writing is story that borders on horror and the border is thin. She includes in it telling of a group of people who are fanatical. The main character is a young woman using name of Abby and that is revealed early that is not her name. She mixes brilliantly past and present in
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Joyce Carol Oates and was really looking forward to this book. It's a very interesting and intense journey for sure as it alternates between Abby's past life and her nightmares of skeletons and handcuffs, to the present when she has just married Willem and is keeping these secrets to herself. But when she steps off a bus and into traffic sending her into a coma, the question arises, "Was it deliberate or an accident?" As she recovers, we as the readers relive her past as she struggles to ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: Pursuit
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press
Publication Date: September 13, 2019 on Amazon
October 11, 2019 on NetGalley web site
Review Date: September 9, 2019
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night, in which she wandered through a field ridden with human skulls and bones. Now an adult, Abby thinks she’s outgrown her demons,
What a nightmare! A well written horror, novel.
Not my kind of book at all. Unfortunately I do not see the point niether the message in this book.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a really hard book to review, and a hard book to read. i wouldn’t necessarily agree that this a “novel of suspense” - this is more a novel of dread. the slow drag of the first part is made up by the half-way mark. this sad, dreadful tale invokes a really horrible life that is almost so real, it’s terrifying. and actual, modern, real life horror story that is in many women’s nightmares.

i unfortunately didn’t really connect with the writing. some of the characters were really bland and i
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Fear makes a pretty face ugly. Always hide your fear.
Always hide your weakness, as animals do."

This was a very odd and sad story. Told in varying POV, you have the father, mother, daughter and new husband. Each POV has a different story to tell and they are all woven together in sad and horrible ways. But the story never fully blossomed for me. It was poetic and sing-songy when you have the main Daughter POV. Her thoughts were scattered and odd, most times without complete sentences.
The new
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Goodreads Librari...: Page number correction for ISBN 9780802147912 3 16 Sep 30, 2019 03:49PM  

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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 ...more
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