Joyce Carol Oates


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HarperCollins Publishers
20 July 2023
ISBN: 9780008609764
272 pages

From the publisher

‘Oates’s imagination is as unique, dystopian and vivid as Lewis Carroll’s’ Rose Tremain

Zero-sum games are played for lethal stakes in these arresting stories by one of America’s most acclaimed writers.

A brilliant young philosophy student bent on seducing her famous philosopher-mentor finds herself outmaneuvered; diabolically clever high school girls wreak a particularly apt sort of vengeance on sexual predators in their community; a woman stalked by a would-be killer may be confiding in the wrong former lover; a young woman is morbidly obsessed by her unfamiliar new role as “mother.” In the collection’s longest story, a much-praised cutting-edge writer cruelly experiments with “drafts” of his own suicide.

In these powerfully wrought stories that hold a mirror up to our time, Joyce Carol Oates has created a world of erotic obsession, thwarted idealism, and ever-shifting identities. Provocative and stunning, Zero-Sum reinforces Oates’s standing as a literary treasure and an artist of the mysterious interior life.

Zero-Sum is brilliant – bloodied, breathless, weird’ A. K. Blakemore, author of The Manningtree Witches

‘A fierce chronicler of survival against the odds … Unstoppable’ Ali Smith

‘Oates is an inspired writer, and a formidable psychologist’ Independent