The Accursed

Joyce Carol Oates

The Accursed

This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel 'The Jungle', has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community - elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated - until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared. 3.8 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
The Accursed

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 688
RRP
Date of Publication March 2013
ISBN 978-0007494194
Publisher Fourth Estate
 

This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel 'The Jungle', has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community - elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated - until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared.

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Reviews

The New York Times

Stephen King

The book is too long, but what classic Gothic isn’t? It sprawls, there’s no identifiable protagonist or unity of scene, and yet these many loosely wrapped Tales of Princeton are feverishly entertaining. Oates’s hypnotic prose has never been better displayed than it is in the book’s final fabulism, which concerns a game of checkers between a brave child and a demon who cheats at every opportunity.

14/03/2013

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The Daily Telegraph

Stephen Abell

In Oates’s practised hands, the story of the moral hysteria afflicting a repressed community is effectively told. The real-life inhabitants are unmercifully treated: Woodrow Wilson, a dyspeptic, scheming racist “who may one day succeed in impressing the world, but who can’t be taken seriously in Princeton”; Grover Cleveland, the “aged, obese” former president; and so on.

21/03/2013

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The Washington Post

Ron Charles

It’s exhaustive and exhausting as it sprawls across all this disparate material. It’s no wonder the word “faint” seems to lie on every other page. And there are a few dead patches — Wilson’s trip to Bermuda never really comes to life, and the Jack London section drags — but those ragged edges only make the book seem more like something van Dyck has curated over his lifetime. With its vast scope, its mingling of comic and tragic tones, its omnivorous gorging on American literature, and especially its complex reflection on the major themes of our history, “The Accursed” is the kind of outrageous masterpiece only Joyce Carol Oates could create.

23/03/2013

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The Sunday Times

Alison Flood

The Accursed is by turns drily hilarious and swooningly gothic.

19/05/2013

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The Financial Times

David Evans

The Accursed is a big, mad, colourful romp, respectful of the literary traditions in which it participates, leavened with a piquant humour. It may not be the definitive work to crown the singularly fascinating Oates oeuvre but, for the uninitiated, it is a great place to begin.

19/04/2013

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The Literary Review

Scott Bradfield

Besides the unusual blending of various genre plots (The Accursed is, to its detriment, packed with an excess of episodic subplots that aren’t always clearly articulated with one another), this huge fictional landscape thrums with historical facts and counterfactuals.

01/03/2013

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