With authors such as Poe, King, Bradbury and many other well-known authors we can be nothing less than pleased with this genre. Joyce Carol Oates chose many wonderful short stories to combine to make up American Gothic Tales.
In rereading Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”, I found there to be more insight to the story than I remember before; such as the children’s names and the computer taking the role of humans.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Lovely House” we see the effects of the confining roles put on women. We see how it changed their lives and who they were. In John Cheevers “The Enormous Radio” a woman learns about her neighbours through her radio.
Later she finds that she is just like them and is left with a not so happily ever after. With stories set in the past and up to the future the book has a variety of stories. In Bruce McAllisters “The Girl Who Loved Animals” we are introduced to a picture of the future.
We see a young woman who is carrying a gorilla baby, and that the new fad is to be of both genders. To complete the gothic tales genre, you must have your usual serial killer and blood and guts. In Breece DJ Pancakes “Time and Again” we hear a story told by the serial killer himself. Although the man has no motivation to kill, except to keep his pigs fed, he has killed many people who were passing through the town.
Now in his older age, he has lost the will and energy to kill anyone else. He comes back home to his pigs and wonders what to do with his life now; continue or offer himself to the pigs. With some happy endings, others sad and some leaving you to wonder you get a wide range of gothic tales that leaves you satisfied with investing in a wonderful book.
American Gothic Tales is a masterpiece of collected short stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. You find a diverse variety of authors from Poe, who is very well known for conveying a message with spine-tingling chills, to Ray Bradbury, who also writes children’s books. Amongst these writers are many others, who make this book so much fun to read. One of my favourite stories in American Gothic Tales was The Veldt, by Ray Bradbury.
A mother and father and their two children are spoiled and over dependent on this house of electronics, leading to murderous betrayal. Wow, this story and all its toiling events grapple with illusions of ferocious beasts, and the smell of blood left to linger in the air.
The Lovely House is another terrific story about a house and its consequential importance to a family. Shirley Jackson does a wonderful job of unfolding a fabulous mystery, which will leave you pondering your thoughts.
John Cheevers, The Enormous Radio is different in its unique style and ironic conclusion. The Westcott family is respectably average people and the parents of two young children.
Irene, the wife, is at first repulsed by the new radio her husband has bought in replace of the old one. Throughout the course of a few days, she engrosses herself with the gumwood cabinet and reveals a side of her only comparable to melancholy.
This story of substitution takes a twist revealing acts of selfishness, and inhumanity. The simple lives of this ordinary family are no longer the same, truths are told, and secrets are uncovered.
Lisa Tuttle’s Replacements deals with a different find of substitution, a kind that derogates the existence of mankind. An awkward creature makes its way into the lives of women, fulfilling the man figure of vitality. This story is very strange and creative, using an analogy that is very real in the lives of many women.
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I usually stick to bestsellers or Oprah club selections like THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER or McCraes THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD, but this one caught my eye. Then again, it does that southern gothic title, so this was probably the reason, and the McCullers and McCrae are at their core, gothic. At any rate, I’m not an Oates fan, but this is by far the best thing shes was done. Id would give it ten stars if they allowed it. VERY well written and entertaining without being overly commercial.