Not to be confused with the Chuck Palahniuk collection of the same title, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates takes at trip to the dark side, finding menace, strangeness, and violence in the banal and everyday (a little like David Lynch). Although the tone is dark, Oates is having fun with the genre, paying homage to masters like Poe ("The White Cat") and Lovecraft ("Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly"), among others. The final gruesome story "Martyrdom" anticipates the transgressive fiction of Palahniuk and perhaps satirizes B. Easton Ellis's brutal misogyny and deadpan violence. A short, but illuminating essay on the grotesque is also included.
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