by Joyce Carol Oates
20 Jul 2023
'Oates's imagination is as unique, dystopian and vivid as Lewis Carroll's' Rose Tremain Zero-sum games are played for lethal stakes in these arresting stories by one of America's most acclaimed writers. A brilliant young philosophy student bent on seducing her famous philosopher-mentor finds herself outmaneuvered; diabolically clever high school girls wreak a particularly apt sort of vengeance on sexual predators in their community; a woman stalked by a would-be killer may be confiding in the wrong former lover; a young woman is morbidly obsessed by her unfamiliar new role as "mother." In the collection's longest story, a much-praised cutting-edge writer cruelly experiments with "drafts" of his own suicide. In these powerfully wrought stories that hold a mirror up to our time, Joyce Carol Oates has created a world of erotic obsession, thwarted idealism, and ever-shifting identities.
Provocative and stunning, Zero-Sum reinforces Oates's standing as a literary treasure and an artist of the mysterious interior life. 'Zero-Sum is brilliant - bloodied, breathless, weird' A. K.
Blakemore, author of The Manningtree Witches 'A fierce chronicler of survival against the odds ... Unstoppable' Ali Smith 'Oates is an inspired writer, and a formidable psychologist' Independent