Book Review : Evil Eye

Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong

by Joyce Carol Oates

4  ♥ 5


Blurb: In Evil Eye, Oates offers four chilling tales of love gone horribly wrong, showing the lengths people will go to find love, keep it, and sometimes end it.


Oates has a way of spooking you! I went into reading this just after Stephen King’s – Full Dark No Stars. This is a gothic novella but don’t expect for the horror effect of Stephen King works.  Ultimately the comparison isn’t fair to this book. Oates has her own brilliant brand of writing, often juggling many sentences into one. It works!

This is a novella of 4 short stories: Evil Eye, The Execution,So Near, Anytime, Always, The Flatbed.

These three stories are just brilliant: “So Near, Anytime, Always”, “The Flatbed”.

  • Evil Eye:  My least favorite was Evil Eye, that’s a shame since it’s the book title and I had much expection.I didn’t find it that impressive .However, the description and the writing in this story is beautiful. Not scary but it does have an effect.
  • So Near, Anytime, Always: This one is truly a treat to read! I didn’t know where this was going. It was highly atmospheric setting, Oates is a genius at creating that icky feeling that something-isn’t-right. I enjoyed this one, it was great gothic tale. And no you couldn’t guess the end.
  • The Execution: It’s chilling, it’s engaging ,it’s twisted and thought-provoking. At the end you are stumped and you really want to understand the working of the main lead. You want to know what makes this character so messed up and it’s tough wrapping your head around the fundamental logic of the lead — I think that works excellently in this genre. In a way, this story is what I call an ultimate revenge. This story has dark humor written all over it. I could vividly imagine this as being a movie in future. Read this!

Oates concocts the visuals with her writing.

  • The Flatbed : This is pretty straightforward story but what makes it a work of art is Joyce’s writing. It could have been a bland story —  story of revenge — if had the author not treated the  way she did. It’s  something this story, a perfect ending to this novella.

Yes evil eye wasn’t exactly the best I’ve read , I almost gave up on reading any other of Oates’s work but I am glad I persisted. The other stories are a real experience. The author is a genius (which is not surprising). Oates doesn’t follow the short story formula of ‘ mislead the reader  into some direction and go for  the punch ‘ — she does her own thing. That might be a bit disorienting in the beginning if you are of that school of thought but it makes sense . The author’s approach towards each story is brilliant, honestly I think Oates is a good study for writing thriller or goth.

Overall, this novella is a great . What I love and have noticed in this novella is the use of ’em dash’. I loved it, it is something that I haven’t come across many  authors using — I use it or rather abuse it sometimes — am so glad Oates is a fan of it too, and it just gives her writing an oomph!  😉

*I am a grammar nazi can you tell?*

All in all I am impressed with this book and hope to read more of her works!

PS: I swear this wasn’t supposed to be an author appreciation post, it just happened!

my read shelf:
This fish likes to read's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

—Take care, happy reading!—

“Books fall open, you fall in.When you climb out again,you’re a bit larger than you used to be.” – Gregory Maguire  


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