MARRIAGES AND INFIDELITIES: SHORT STORIES BY JOYCE CAROL OATES
VANGUARD PRESS (HARDBACK), 1972
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Marriages and Infidelities (1972) is the fourth volume of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates. In this collection, Oates explores the relationship between love and betrayal.
Howard Dean reached the outskirts of Mouth-of-Lowmoor, West Virginia, at about four-thirty on a warm autumn afternoon, after having driven most of the day. Route 77 had been ascending steadily into the mountains. Now he found himself driving along a ridge on this two-lane mountain road, his hands fastened firmly to the steering wheel, while his eyes kept drifting off to the right to stare down in to a valley. He could not help himself, this scene was so beautiful – the valley was placid, marked by filmy, misty divisions between fields, and all the fields were the same uniform, dull, sweet green. A kind of paradise. Another world. It surprised him that there were so many white houses in this part of the country. Surely the coats of white paint wore out in a year or two? He was pleased that people in these valleys and foothills should take the trouble to pain their houses white.
THE SACRED MARRIAGE
This is my first time reading Marriages and Infidelities. I’m working my way through JCO’s back catalogue. There’s a lot I haven’t read.
I thought Marriages and Infidelities was a great collection of short stories. It was almost as good as her collection, The Wheel of Love I read a couple of weeks ago. Every story is well written and enjoyable and make Marriages and Infidelities a strong collection. Like The Wheel of Love, there are no clunkers and every story earns its place. The stories in Marriages and Infidelities have similar themes to the stories in The Wheel of Love and I’d say they are companions to each other. I’d only read one of the stories before, The Lady with the Pet Dog. Among my favourites were The Sacred Marriage, 29 Inventions, By the River, Scenes of Passion and Despair, Did You Ever Slip on Red Blood? and The Turn of the Screw. The other stores were very good. Marriages and Infidelities is an example of how good JCO can be when she come out guns blazing.