The Accursed

The Accursed

Book - 2013
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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-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth 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.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780062231703
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: xiii, 669 p. : map ; 24 cm.


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SFPL_danielay Aug 29, 2017

A long and rather odd book by Joyce Carol Oates. It is an odd mix of historic fiction and gothic horror set in early 20th century Princeton. Cars have replaced some of the horse-drawn carriages and a young Upton Sinclair is advocating for Socialism but at the same time there are ghosts, the devil and a curse that befalls the rich and powerful families of the town. I can't say it really gripped me but I still had to find out what happened at the end.

Nov 12, 2014

Lots to think about with this book.

rebalski Jul 16, 2014

I would agree with others that this was a slow moving book. However, for some reason I really enjoyed reading this. I just really enjoyed how you felt a part of the times-- where people believed things to be unspeakable and you were speculating about gossip. I liked it -- but don't expect a lot of action, I guess.

wordbaker Jul 07, 2014

awfully long to make the point: evil lurks all around. the faint of heart should pass on this one.

Apr 12, 2014

I felt accursed slogging thru to the end. I don't know why i have this perverse need to finish what i start.
This book needed some juicy details to make it interesting. Vivid descriptions of exactly what is going on would be nice.

Jul 22, 2013

Stuck with it for about a third of the way through. When I could find no point to it all, except perhaps to present famous American politicians in a most unfavorable light (which may or may not have been historically correct), I gave up. Since all the main action was "unspeakable," I guess Oates just had nothing to write about?

Dillondog_1 Jul 08, 2013

another greatone frormOates. I was sad when it ended -- felt like I'd lost friends.

JCLHunterSt May 21, 2013

I believe Joyce Carol Oates is a fabulous writer. There are parts of The Accursed where her talents shine through. Unfortunately, the book just never came together for me. I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. I found it boring and tedious and the book just couldn't keep my interest for long. It took me ages to finish it (and now I wonder why I bothered) because I kept putting it down and then picking it back up hoping it would get better. It never did.


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