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3.5 

The (Other) You

By Joyce Carol Oates
The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

A powerful reckoning over the people we might have been if we’d chosen a different path, from a master of the short story

In this stirring, reflective collection of short stories, Joyce Carol Oates ponders alternate destinies: the other lives we might have led if we’d made different choices. An accomplished writer returns to her childhood home of Yewville, but the homecoming stirs troubled thoughts about the person she might have been if she’d never left. A man in prison contemplates the gravity of his irreversible act. A student’s affair with a professor results in a pregnancy that alters the course of her life forever. Even the experience of reading is investigated as one that can create a profound transformation: “You could enter another time, the time of the book.”

The (Other) You is an arresting and incisive vision into these alternative realities, a collection that ponders the constraints we all face given the circumstances of our birth and our temperaments, and that examines the competing pressures and expectations on women in particular. Finely attuned to the nuances of our social and psychic selves, Joyce Carol Oates demonstrates here why she remains one of our most celebrated and relevant literary figures. 

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10 Reviews

3.5
“Thank you to Goodreads, HarperCollins Publishers, and Joyce Carol Oates for the gifted copy of The (Other) You! The (Other) You is a newly released collection of short stories that explores potential alternative realities. In the book, the characters face life-altering circumstances and are left to ponder how things could have ended differently. An author performs a book reading in her hometown of Yewville and wonders how her life would have been different if she had stayed. Matt/Matthew Smith encounter alternate versions of themselves while waiting to meet a friend for lunch. Readers repeatedly return to The Purple Onion café, where a deadly tragedy once occurred, but the characters, developments, and outcomes of the event are different in each story. The stories in The (Other) You focus inward, on the narrators’ and characters’ internal musings, and offer interesting commentary on the pressures we all face. The art of the short story is fascinating to me, so I wouldn’t call any collection “bad,” but this was not my favorite. The characters didn’t have any lasting effect on me, and only a couple of stories stand out in my mind as ones that caught my attention or that I particularly enjoyed. Perhaps if I read this collection again and spent more time analyzing the stories, I would come away with a better sense of what Joyce Carol Oates wanted to reveal through these pieces. Of the stories in The (Other) You that I did enjoy, my favorites included “Subaqueous,” “Waiting for Kizer,” and “The Happy Place.” These stories kept me engaged and trying to pick apart the subtext. Though it wasn’t a personal favorite of mine, avid fans of short stories and Joyce Carol Oates are sure to enjoy her new collection published in February 2021.”

About Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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