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10 thoughts on “Pursuit By Joyce Carol Oates

  1. says:

    Twenty year old Abby Hayman is an employee of County Services in upstate New York where she works at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind That's where Abby meets Willem Zengler a devoutly Christian college student who volunteers to read for the sightless patients Abby is pretty Willem is handsome and the two young people fall in love Willem proposes despite the reservations of his parents who feel like Abby is too much of an unknown uantityAbby lost her parents at a young age and was raised by her Aunt Traci in Chautauua Falls which is a couple of hours away Thus the Zenglers haven't met any of Abby's relatives and feel they don't know enough about Abby or her familyAbby is an innocent in many ways but she does indeed have secrets Both of Abby's parents disappeared in unknown circumstances when she was five It's alleged that Abby's father committed suicide out west which he threatened to do in postcardsAnd it's believed that Abby's mother went off to look for the troubled manand never returned Moreover Abby's name isn't really Abbyit's Miriam Frances And the future bride has to explain this when she produces her birth certificate to get a marriage licenseIn any case Abby and Willem marry and less than 24 hours later Abby steps in front of a bus During Abby's long recuperation and rehabilitation Willem who barely leaves her side tries to elicit an explanation for the incident Was it an accident? Attempted suicide? Something else?We learn that recurring bad dreams involving skeletons played a role in Abby's actions though the meaning of the nightmares isn't immediately clear While Abby is slowly recovering from her injuries there's a long flashback to the lives of Abby's parents Nicola and Llewyn Lew Hayman who lived in Chautauua Falls When we meet the Hayman family little Miriam Frances called Meer me is five; Nicola is a teacher at a community college; and Lew is a cantankerous hard drinking veteran of the Middle East warperhaps suffering from PTSD Lew is an angry controlling man who's sure Nicola is cheating on him and determined to prove it To do this Lew enlists the help of little Meer me In his 'kind Daddy' voice Lew repeatedly asks Meer me Does Mommy have a friend who visits her when Daddy is away?Does Mommy have a special friend a male who visits her when Daddy is away? Meer me isn't sure what 'male' means and sensing Daddy wants her to agree murmurs Uh huh and nods yes This leads to the Haymans' separation and things go downhill from thereWe get a SLOW TORTUROUS HORRIFYING picture of Lew's subseuent behavior which leaves Meer me in the custody of Lew's sister Traci who barely able to make ends meet moves them into the old ramshackle family homeAt the age of eight Meer me accidentally learns about what she sees as the conseuences of her 'nodding yes' and it's this that spawns the nightmares that plague her For me most of the flashback section is too slow and disturbing Lew's downward spiral and the subseuent conseuences are predictable and a harrowing play by play feels like piling on Anyone familiar with true crime programs law and order shows or the real news can figure out where this novel is going It's nothing newI also don't like Willem much who in his goody two shoes religious way is also a controlling man who knows what God wants As for the women Abby and Nicola are too weak and acuiescent Both women should run for the hills instead of hooking up with Willem and Lew but then there wouldn't be a story 🙂Joyce Carol Oates is a gifted writer but it's not clear to me what she was aiming at with this book To put the best spin on it this is the story of childhood trauma and self blame that has serious repercussions Still many readers gave this book high ratings so if the theme interests you I'd suggest giving it a tryYou can follow my reviews at

  2. says:

    A Sad and Dark MysteryA young woman of twenty suffers from horrible nightmares but she is looking forward to her future with Willem her husband of one day On this morning the day after her wedding Abby is hit by the bus that she had just stepped off from While Abby is convalescing from her traumatic injuries in the hospital a background story is told of all the events that had caused her to have the nightmares that have plagued her throughout her life and then Willem discovers that he did not have a clue to the person who is his brideI am sorry to say this story was not for me Of course Pursuit was well written but I found it depressing and dark without any real suspense or tension It was a fast read and the storyline was interesting but for me it was just a sad and dark drama if you are a fan of Joyce Carol Oates I recommend reading this book but IMO it just did not rise to a suspenseful thrillerI want to thank the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this bookI have given a rating of 3 Wavering Stars

  3. says:

    Eyes open Eyes shutNightmares have a way of seeping into the cracksAbby Hayman has been suffering from the same haunting repetitious nightmares for years Her brain sorts through the carnage of endless treks through grassy fields and the horror of what lays tangled in the weeds Waking exhausted she stumbles through her day only to return to the same mind channel again and againBut Abby has met someone at the County Services where she is employed in Hammond New York She specializes in the rehabilitation for the blind Having just turned twenty Abby is a young soul entrapped in the weighted spirit of her past We'll come to see the flickering light under the door of that past as this story unfoldsWilliam Zengler has fallen head over heels for the fresh and freckled Abby He's currently taking classes in Pre Med at the university He and Abby are soon married even though his family keeps uestioning him about Abby and her lack of details in regard to her own background and family No honeymoon has been planned with conflicting work schedules Both must go back to work the very next day after the weddingBut something has upset Abby while riding the bus to work that morning She frantically pulls the cord for the driver to stop In her haste to escape the confines of the bus once on the curb she steps right in front of the bus as it pulls away Was it intentional or something else altogether?Joyce Carol Oates has opened a sort of Pandora's Box in this one The we lift the lid the we shudder to find out what's inside Oates creates a parallel storyline of present and past lining it with Abby's struggles after the bus accident and a glimpse into the lives of her unsettling parents Nicola and LewBe warned that Oates adds some pretty heavy duty ingredients in The Pursuit It's people behaving badly really badly With sparks of PTSD verbal and physical abuse and palpitating hearts Oates sets up a highly unusual arc of circumstances here I dare you not to speed through this compact little gem of 224 pages of life cruising through Bizarroville Just don't get pulled over until you reach the end of the road Folks WhewI received a copy of The Pursuit through NetGalley for an honest review My thanks to The Mysterious Press and to Joyce Carol Oates for the opportunity

  4. says:

    Haunting disturbing and seriously bleakI wanted to like this but it’s hard to enjoy a book that deals with this kind of cruelty The story of Abby is not necessarily engaging I could not get behind her or Willem and their relationship It was weird to me She’s so meek and mild and he’s such a neurotic cloying child it came off odd I was curious to know of Abby’s history as well as the reason behind her “accident” but the whole of it was not handled coherentlyJoyce Carol Oates employs a stream of consciousness techniue here and though it makes the story intense and nightmarish still ended up boring me And this is not a long book 144 pages; it’s closer to a novella in length The details regarding that of Abby’s mother and father were hard to get through I was disturbed throughout But I found it all entirely implausible I won’t go into spoilers but there is a long stretch of time between a certain crime and Abby’s present circumstances No uestions raised? No investigations? Aunt Traci? Dominiue? NO ONE?? Totally unrealisticI’m a reader who reviews based having on emotions and this one has me empty and nauseated Honestly it left a real bad taste in my mouth come the conclusion and I am dismayed Thank you NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review

  5. says:

    Oates never retreats from delving deeply into the dark recesses of the traumatised psyche Not for the faint of heart Gritty tense and brutal

  6. says:

    Joyce Carol Oates Having been a follower for over 40 years I am completely in awe of her output her stamina the sheer genius of her plotting and range of her topics It is difficult to separate the creation from the creator in much of her work I read recently of how sometimes she gets clarity while out running Running And she's over 80 years old Someone recently told me he saw her in a TSA line in which he was feeling smug about the fact that he was reading a book only to see her there writing a book In line All of this is by way of expressing my admiration for this her excursion into the horrifying world of PTSD and its conseuences in an intricate moving exceedingly complicated whole that is ultimately satisfying if disturbing Her characterizations are spot on her POV structure exact and uncompromising Even the title which holds a different connotation for each of the participants

  7. says:

    ★★★✰✰ 3 stars The Pursuit is depressing even by Joyce Carol Oates standards “Early on the morning of her wedding day Before dawn she is wakened from the dream with a jolt The skeleton dream she had reason to believe she’d outgrown vivid before her staring eyes” Joyce Carol Oates' chameleon like ability to shift between writing styles is one of the reasons why even when she returns to themes she has previously explored her books have always some innovative element to them In The Pursuit Oates interrogates the way in which trauma affects shapes and alienates the self There is also plenty of ignorance hatred and evil within these pages and Oates doesn't hold back from delving into the darkest parts of human nature The Pursuit has a uite fitting title as I felt similarly to its central figure Abby ' pursued' by the horrors of her past This novella offers no breaks but it is relentless in its portrayal of Abby's mental dissolution The fragmented narrative reflects Abby's state of mind a day after marrying she walks in front of a bus Was this a deliberate act or an accident? Abby is haunted by a horrific event which has etched itself onto her psyche so that even when she about to embark on a ' happy' future as a married woman she is plagued by nightmarish visions and whispers “This self she has carefully constructed as an adult among the adults of the world—this being does not yet exist in the dream In the dream there is only the child self her truest self unprotected as a newborn deer is unprotected lacking even a scent” The choppy prose emphasises Abby's growingly incoherent worldview and adds a sense of feverish urgency to her story Within this novella the syntax of Oates' writing has a fitful start and stop uality that renders Abby's agitated thought processes The narrative then takes us back to the Abby's past introducing us to her parents' unhappy relationship and forces to read from the perspective of a deeply troubled individual whose own paranoia and delusions lead him to pursue a destructive path The repetitive imagery of Abby's visions bones a skull handcuffs creates a rhythm that makes the story all the disturbing Personally however I just prefer when Oates writes in a articulate if not elegant manner Although I appreciated why this style suited the tone of this particular story I longed for a less impressionistic narrativeRead reviews on my blog   View all my reviews on Goodreads

  8. says:

    4 ☆ This might be a short book but it packed a whole lot of punch It explores main character Abby’s life starting with a nightmarish dream of skeletons in a field the night before her wedding leading up to her horrific accident the day after the wedding uestioning was it “accidental or purposeful” The story is then told in alternating storylines of her family history and childhood disturbing and intense I had to step away from reading several times The different POV of the mother father aunt and husband all weave together to create a dark thought provoking journey for the reader Caution for domestic violence sexual assault PTSD and its conseuences An Arc was provided by Mysterious Press via NetGalley for an honest review

  9. says:

    I really didn't like the writing style of this book It's the first time I've read Joyce Carol Oates and I'm not going to pick up any works of hers I didn't like any of the characters and didn't find it very thrilling or horrific There's really nothing good that I can say about this

  10. says:

    The nightmare has plagued Abby since childhood Skeletons in a field The skulls in the grass She thought the dream was finally gone for good but on the eve of her wedding it returns In a panic strange thoughts flooding her head Abby runs off a city bus and is struck by a car While recuperating she opens up to her new husband Willem There are so many secretsThis story is suspenseful and builds slowly revealing Abby's life little bit by little bit It isn't an exciting edge of your seat sort of burnbut a very atmospheric strange but compelling story Abby reveals her life slowly It shows the depth of feeling and trust she has for Willem The story switches back and forth from Abby to Willem's POV several times Usually I don't really care for bouncing POV but in this case it really works This is the first full length novel by Joyce Carol Oates that I've read Yeah I knowI'm late to the party I have no excusejust ponderous TBR and only so much time After reading two short stories by Oates Miao Dao and The Sign of the Beast I knew I needed to delve into her gigantic list of published novels I enjoyed this book I will definitely be reading of her work I think what I liked best about this story was the slow build Oates doesn't hurry She doesn't use uick action to build her story rather she lets it tumble out just like Abby's rambling revelations about her parents and childhood Her writing style and word choices help build the feeling of panic helplessness and secrets Pursuit is well written Very enjoyable read dark and than a bit creepy I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Grove Atlantic All opinions expressed are entirely my own

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Pursuit By Joyce Carol Oates

FREE READ Pursuit By Joyce Carol Oates

Y steps out into traffic As his wife lies in her hospital bed sleeping in fits and starts Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge and he uickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what his wife might be hiding Why for example is there a rash like red mark circling her wrist What does she dream about that causes her to wake from the sound of her own scream. Oates never retreats from delving deeply into the dark recess 21 Short Plays his wife lies in Angel of Sudden Hill her The Complete Anchoring Handbook hospital bed sleeping in fits and starts Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge and Screams and Nightmares he uickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what Muay Thai Unleashed his wife might be Practical Boat Mechanics hiding Why for example is there a rash like red mark circling Short Cycle Selling her wrist What does she dream about that causes Break the Bipolar Cycle her to wake from the sound of Innovate the Pixar Way her own scream. Oates never retreats from delving deeply into the dark recess


As a child Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night in which she wandered through a field ridden with human skulls and bones Now an adult Abby thinks she's outgrown her demons until the evening before her wedding the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband Willem The following day less than 24 hours after exchanging vows Abb. Twenty year old Abby Hayman is an employee of County Services Angel of Sudden Hill had the same recurring nightmare night after night in which she wandered through a field ridden with The Complete Anchoring Handbook human skulls and bones Now an adult Abby thinks she's outgrown Screams and Nightmares her demons until the evening before Muay Thai Unleashed her wedding the terrible dream returns and forces Practical Boat Mechanics her to confront the dark secrets from Short Cycle Selling her past she Break the Bipolar Cycle has kept from Innovate the Pixar Way her new School for Startups husband Willem The following day less than 24 All the Plants of the Bible hours after exchanging vows Abb. Twenty year old Abby Hayman is an employee of County Services

Joyce Carol Oates Ú 1 DOWNLOAD

SSlowly Abby begins to open up to her husband revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before the story of a terrified mother; a jealous drug addled father; and a daughter's terrifying captivityWith a suspenseful alternating narrative that travels between the present and Abby's tortured childhood The Pursuit is a meticulously crafted deeply disuieting tale that showcases Oates's masterful storytelli. I really didn't like the writing style of this book It's the