Joyce Carol Oates and ''High Lonesome''
In the 662-page collection High Lonesome, Joyce Carol Oates culls 40 years' worth of her short stories (and includes 10 new ones). Here, the wildly prolific author suggests five go-to works from her own oeuvre.
1. HIGH LONESOME (2006)
''Often my writing is criticized for being very pessimistic and dark, but quite often there are redemptive qualities like in the story 'Spider Boy,' which is very close to my heart.''
2. BLONDE (2000, paperback)
''It's the imagined life of Marilyn Monroe. That's a once-in-a-lifetime novel. It was quite exhausting. I would like to try something like that again, but I'm not strong enough. I really felt like I would have a breakdown myself.''
3. THE FAITH OF A WRITER (2003, paperback)
''Just a little book of essays some of them about the craft of fiction that you could hold right in your hand, while my other ones are really big.''
4. RAPE: A LOVE STORY (2003, paperback)
''I loved writing that little novel. It's only about 120 pages long because each chapter is really short and tight, almost like poetry. I wanted to tell a story that used the voice of a community.''
5. THEM (1969, paperback)
''A novel [about a lower-class, dysfunctional family in '60s Detroit] that's been reprinted more often than any other book of mine. It's like a historical novel in my own life because it was so long ago.''