UPON THE SWEEPING FLOOD AND OTHER STORIES by Joyce Carol Oates

UPON THE SWEEPING FLOOD AND OTHER STORIES

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A second (By the North Gate- 1963) collection of short stories by the talented young "Southern" writer is, in a way, a disappointment, attenuating and accentuating as it does one of the main failings of the genre which at this point has become The Method. There is of course the landscape-- heat, dirt, small areas of piney woods and the inevitable gas stations and billboards-- and above all the hovering of a capricious fate manipulating the characters, tin dolls creaking toward their doom with some inexplicable malfunction speeding the process. A young seminary student, struggling dimly to escape his white, airless world, confronts his sister who through a physiological mishap is reminded of her fleshly alliances, and both retreat to death in life. As flood waters recede, a man who had saved a girl and her young brother, kills the boy when he receives what is apparently a flash intuition of impotence. A young woman, masochistically returning to her alien family after each compulsive escapade with a man, dies of a miscarriage endured while on a motorcycle relentlessly driven by a man who loves her. A thirteen year old girl witnesses the knifing of an entire family. Etc., etc. Miss Oates is a gifted writer but we wait for a greater concern with universals rather than hideous incidentals. An on-going talent-- idling.
Pub Date: April 15th, 1966
ISBN: 0449224635
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Vanguard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1966




MORE BY JOYCE CAROL OATES

FictionBEAUTIFUL DAYS by Joyce Carol Oates
by Joyce Carol Oates
FictionA BOOK OF AMERICAN MARTYRS by Joyce Carol Oates
by Joyce Carol Oates