Faithless

Joyce Carol Oates

In this collection of 21 stories, the mysterious private lives of individuals are explored with vivid, unsparing precision and sympathy. By turn interlocutor and interpreter, magician and realist, Joyce Carol Oates dissects the psyches of ordinary people and their potential for good and evil with chilling understatement and lasting power. In ‘Faithless’ two adult sisters recall their mother’s disappearance when they were children; in ‘Ugly Girl’ a bitterly angry young woman defines herself as ugly as a way of making herself invulnerable to hurt, and in so doing hurts others; in ‘Lover’ a beautiful woman locked into an obsessive love affair seeks her revenge in a bizarre, violent manner. Intense and provocative, ‘Faithless’ is a startling look into the heart of contemporary America from the modern master of the short story.

Reviews of Faithless

  • ‘Joyce Carol Oates is a writer who always takes your breath away.’ Mail on Sunday

    ‘”Faithless: Tales of Transgression” makes its brisk incisions into the themes of terror, female passion, collapsing male identity, loneliness, divorce, revenge …Again and again [Oates] finds new language to describe the immensity of desire…She twists back against our assumptions, seeking always the gristly pop of revelation.’ New York Times Book Review

    ‘Oates is a massive literary heavyweight, and many earnestly believe she could knock the other contenders for the title of Great American Novelist – Updike, Roth, Wolfe, Mailer.’ Guardian

    ‘Oates is an inspired writer, and a formidable psychologist. She has a thrilling way of grasping an emotion, wasting no time in judicious rumination but launching herself straight at the aching heart of the matter.’ Independent

    ‘Oates’s precise and inspired writing is close to witchcraft.’ Jeanne Moreau

    ‘Novelists such as John Updike, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer slug it out for the title of the Great American Novelist. But maybe they’re wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.’ The Herald

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