Book Review: Crossing The Border – Fifteen Tales by Joyce Carol Oates

CROSSING THE BORDER

CROSSING THE BORDER: FIFTEEN TALES BY JOYCE CAROL OATES

VANGUARD PRESS (HARDBACK), 1976

256 PAGES 

HTTP://WWW.USFCA.EDU/JCO

BLURB FROM THE COVER

CROSSING THE BORDER is a new collection of short stories by one of North America’s foremost literary figures. In this volume, individuals approach and sometimes cross borders – borders separating men from women, innocence from experience, one way of life from another. The scene is often set in Canada, the great land beyond the border of the United States so inadequately known by most Americans. Residing as she does in that country, Miss Oates writes with a sympathetic knowledge of people on both sides of the border whose stories she tells with her matchless artistry.

EXTRACT 

Evan, the young husband, hurries from the men’s rest room at the Sunoco station near Tiger Stadium in Detroit, pale and stricken and angry, and Renee, his wife, sits helpless in the car to wait out another session. She is miserable with the heat (CROSSING THE BORDER)

REVIEW

GENERAL IMPRESSION

I enjoyed Crossing The Border: Fifteen Tales overall. The quality of the stories was very good and only a couple didn’t quite make the mark. My favourites were Crossing The Border, Love. Friendship, Through The Looking Glass, The Transformation of Vincent Scoville and Falling In Love In Ashton, British Columbia. The weakest story was River Rising. One interesting aspect was the fact JCO uses two characters, Evan and Renee in several stories including Crossing The Border and An Incident In The Park. I thought this was unusual but interesting. I couldn’t help wonder if all the stories that used both of these characters would work as a short novel.

CROSSING THE BORDER

I really enjoyed this story though it was quite bleak.

LOVE. FRIENDSHIP

This was a good story and quite disturbing.

HELLO FINE DAY ISN’T IT

Not a lot happens in this story but it’s still unsettling.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

This was one of the best stories in the collection.

NATURAL BOUNDARIES

I liked this story. Very thought-provoking.

DREAMS

I really liked this story. Intense.

CUSTOMS

I thought this was a great story.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF VINCENT SCOVILLE

Another great story from JCO about dysfunctional relationships.

THE GOLDEN MADONNA

I enjoyed this story but it was one of the weakest in the collection.

THE SCREAM

An enjoyable story but not as interesting as the title suggests.

AN INCIDENT IN THE PARK

Good story and sort of disturbing.

FALLING IN LOVE IN ASHTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA

There’s something really enjoyable about this story.

THE TEMPTER

This was an enjoyable read but not as good as some others in the collection.

RIVER RISING

I didn’t like this story at all. Weird layout and not very interesting.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

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