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The Accursed | [Joyce Carol Oates]

The Accursed

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the 20th century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man - a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil.
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Publisher's Summary

A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation) - an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-20th-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned.

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the 20th century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man - a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.

When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain - all plagued by "accursed" visions.

An utterly fresh work from Oates, The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful writer. Narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling supernatural elements to stunning effect.

©2013 The Ontario Review (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (99 )
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3.2 (87 )
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  •  
    Jane North Wales, PA, United States 02-21-14
    Jane North Wales, PA, United States 02-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A fantastic mix of fact and fiction"
    Would you listen to The Accursed again? Why?

    Yes. There is is such a lot of history mixed into this book. America at the turn of the twentieth century was a time of dynamic social unrest. Many strong figures in history emerged from this time and it was interesting to view their lives from the dawn of their influence.


    Any additional comments?

    As opposed to some of the other reviewers who were hoping for a fast paced and spooky horror story, I was thrilled with the depth of research that was put into this novel and skillful unfolding of the tale. It left me curious about the real life characters that filled the pages. The fervor of Woodrow Wilson, the social struggles of Upton Sinclair, the pomposity of Jack London, to name a few, breathed life into the history of this age. This combined with the story of the curse gave real dimension and sense of place to the book. I never felt it was slow. Each part was fascinating in its own right.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Clawson, MI, United States 05-02-13
    Tracy Clawson, MI, United States 05-02-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "disappointed"
    What would have made The Accursed better?

    there were far too many "author commentaries" that detracted from the story. And, although I understand it was an historical novel, there we're too many present day references to women being the weaker gender.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Another historical piece.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary WINDBER, Panama 04-30-13
    Mary WINDBER, Panama 04-30-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    18
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not for the easily distracted"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No....very drawn out and difficult to follow.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Grover Gardner?

    Maybe


    Could you see The Accursed being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Love Oates's work....had high expectations but was very disappointed. Made it 2/3 of the way through but finally gave up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Ewer 03-25-13
    Dana Ewer 03-25-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved It!"

    My favorite book so far this year. I've been telling everyone about it. Well written and well performed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    daniel Hamlin, WV, United States 03-26-13
    daniel Hamlin, WV, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2012

    I am a D-Bag.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not your typical Vampire story"

    If your expecting twilight then skip this. Oates is one of the best living writers today and would not sink to that level. A fine mixture of Princeton history and fiction. I hated to see it end.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen 05-05-13
    Maureen 05-05-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't waste your time Oates has lost her touch"

    This was a tedeous book. Extraneous historical facts are interspersed with the story. These facts do not add to the book, but distract from the story. I used to enjoy Joyce Carol Oates, but will never read one of her books again.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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