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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
Frances E. Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt, Tavia Gilbert
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (Audio)
David Eagleman

The Accursed

The Accursed (Audio) - Joyce Carol Oates, Grover Gardner

Huh, I had no idea until just now that this book is "Book #5 of the Gothic Saga."  But apparently, the books don't actually have anything to do with one another.  In any event, this book reminds me that in addition to being unbelievably prolific, Joyce Carol Oates is astonishingly versatile.  The Accursed is a historical novel and also a vampire  (of sorts), ghost, and demons novel.  The setting is Princeton University in 1905-1906. 

 

Real-life figures that appear in the novel include Woodrow Wilson (then the president of Princeton University), Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and Mark Twain.  The narrative frame is that the tale is being documented by amateur historian M. W. van Dyck II, who hopes to set the record straight on the curse.  This narrator is very self-conscious both about being an amateur in both the "historian" and "writer" fields, often drawing attention to the ways in which that status affects the manuscript.  Sometimes he advises readers not interested in a certain topic to skim or skip a section.  There were some lengthy footnotes (for which audio is not the greatest format)!

 

This novel is definitely not for everyone.  It is long and sprawling, with a very large cast.  But if you are predisposed to enjoy a Joyce Carol Oates novel with a historical backdrop and meta-narrative frame, with ghouls and interesting interrogations of race, class, and gender, I'd recommend giving this a try.  Reading the text version would be easier to follow than audio.