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—Abby 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 quickly 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 screams?
Slowly, 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 captivity.
With a suspenseful, alternating narrative that travels between the present and Abby’s tortured childhood, The Pursuit is a meticulously crafted, deeply disquieting tale that showcases Oates’s masterful storytelling.
Praise for Joyce Carol Oates:
“[A] cutting edge collection…full of rare, believable scenarios that can make the heart race or cause us to ponder our own mortality…Night Gaunts is like a paranoid daydream, yet one where it is satisfying to know that you can awaken with a sounder mind than before it began.” —Bookreporter, on Night-Gaunts
“Consummately well-written, stylistically dashing…forthrightly nightmarish” —Kirkus Reviews, on Night-Gaunts
“Oates’ spookiness is visceral, psychologically involving, and socially astute.” —Booklist, on Night-Gaunts
“Few writers better illuminate the mind’s most disturbing corners.”—Seattle Times, “The 10 best mysteries of 2015,” on Jack of Spades
“Oates’s brand of horror has never required the invocation of other worlds: This world is terrible enough for her. Everything she writes, in whatever genre, has an air of dread, because she deals in vulnerabilities and inevitabilities, in the desperate needs that drive people . . . to their fates. A sense of helplessness is the essence of horror, and Oates conveys that feeling as well as any writer around.”—New York Times Book Review, on The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror
“Does any writer around do literary creepy like Joyce Carol Oates? . . . The stories always have an undercurrent of menace poised to break through at any moment.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror
“A dazzling, disturbing tour de force of Gothic suspense.”—Boston Globe, on Evil Eye
“This writer is extraordinary not because she produces such huge amount, but because what she produces is so consistently good. And short stories show her invention, economy and control at its best . . . Oates perfectly captures the atmosphere of fear and well-meaning misunderstanding.”—Times (UK), on High Crime Area
“Oates creates worlds and minds as overwrought and paranoid as anything a female Poe could imagine, then sprinkles her trademark exclamation points licentiously through the interior monologues to heighten the intimacy between ecstasy and madness.”—Kirkus Reviews, on DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense