CLEANING OUT OLD NOTES AND FILES, I FOUND…

…Notes on a short story collection I read in 2022 but never reviewed on PWR, so if you will indulge me, this one is too good to miss.

Oates is special to me because years and years ago, I heard her read from one of her books at the University of Houston. Never mind that it was probably her most boring book a non-fiction tome titled On Boxing, a history of and musings about the sport, in which I had no interest. Even her delivery was quiet and not particularly personable, but she was a famous author, and when I looked into her novels and short stories, I found out what a versatile, wonderful author she is. Over the years, I have read many books by Oates and now have to list her as one of my “favorites.”

This collection is about dark and deep themes, expressed in a lovely way; themes like suicide, abortion and vaguely disturbing feelings and thoughts . These things are handled in a way only Oates could. A longer story, almost a novella, is included about a young magazine writer who is given the opportunity to interview Robert Frost in his declining years. It is highly imaginative and written in a way that could cause some readers to believe it actually happened that way. Oates has a masterpiece here; it is suspenseful as it deals with women’s “place,” male chauvinism, authors’ egos, and independent young women who are “ahead of their time” in their thinking. I enjoyed it immensely, and would recommend this book on the basis of that story alone. I’ll bet Oates had fun writing it!

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