Four unnerving tales


Evil Eye:  Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong by Joyce Carol Oates

Book Review:  5 star rating

As the sub-title says, these are four novellas of love gone wrong. The first novella, “Evil Eye”, focuses on a nazar, which is a talisman used to ward off the evil eye.  Mariana is a shy, timid young woman who is the newly wedded fourth wife of Austin Mohr.  Austin is 25 years old than Mariana and his adoration of her seems to be wearing off and his impatience growing.  He announces that his first wife, Ines, will be coming to visit.  Austin and Ines have a terrible secret that Ines wishes to confide to Mariana.  Can their marriage survive this revelation?

The second novella, “So Near Anytime Always”, involves another shy young woman, Lizbeth, this one a teenager who falls for a new young man in the area, Desmond. But Desmond has a dark side that Lizbeth isn’t at first aware of.

In “The Execution”, college student Bert Hansen has taken too many wrong turns during his life. He blames his father for never being supportive and now his mother also seems to have given up on him.  Bert plots his evil revenge on both his hated father and his loving mother.

The last novella is “The Flatbed”. Cecilia has never been able to have a normal sexual relationship due to the abuse she sustained as a child.  The new man in her life thinks revenge will give the help that Cecilia needs to overcome her issues.

Joyce Carol Oates has long been a favorite author of mine. She’s an expert at pulling her readers in right at the start of her stories and then gradually leading them up to the point where you start to realize that something is horribly wrong.  She would have been such a wonderful writer for the old TV series, “The Twilight Zone”.  I had chills through all four of these tales and highly recommend them.