Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates

This was an intriguing short story collection with a quirky mix of perspectives that traversed the line between thriller and suspense genres.

I thought the strength of the collection was twofold. Firstly, in the title story, Night Gaunts. Interestingly, this was one of the only stories told from a male point of view that I enjoyed. The other was the super creepy Sign of the Beast, with a strange and inappropriate student and Sunday-school teacher encounter leading to an irrational belief in the commission of a crime that never took place. I did wonder if the two were connected, with the facial marking of a male character appearing in both stories (if you’ve read this, am I reading into it?!).

Secondly, I thought the female perspectives in this collection were brilliant, particularly the first two stories. They were wicked and witty and such a clever use of the short story form. Back to back, I thought they showed an interesting perspective on infidelity and how it is experienced by women engaging in it, and women who are the victim of it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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