Joyce Carol Oates was the final female author I read for the female horror author reading challenge. She wasn’t on the original reading list but had to be added to replace an author whose book I couldn’t find in the library. For the challenge, I read her short story collection The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror.
Oates is an award-winning American writer. Her career began in 1964 with the publication of her book With Shuddering Fall. She has since published over 40 novels. Her other publications also include novellas, short story collections, plays, poetry collections and nonfiction books.
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror is a collection of six horror/suspense short stories. The story ‘The Doll-Master’ is about a boy who becomes obsessed with his dead cousin’s doll and soon starts to collect unusual dolls that he finds in the area. In ‘Soldier’ we see a white man imprisoned for shooting an unarmed black boy. ‘Gun Accident’ is a story where a teenage girl finds herself in a difficult situation while house sitting for her favourite teacher. In ‘Equatorial’ a woman is convinced that her husband wants to kill her. ‘Big Momma’ tells the story of a young girl called Violet, who after moving to a new area with her working single mom, becomes friends with a girl in her new school and soon finds herself a part of her friend’s family, but her new adopted family aren’t what they seem. Finally, we have ‘Mystery, Inc.’ which tells the story of Charles Brockden, who has been greedily collecting bookshops by any means necessary, even murder. Charles finds a new bookshop to acquire, but things don’t go exactly to plan.
The story collection wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I thought it would be full of typical horror tales, but these were terrifying in a different way because they could happen in real life. My favourite stories were ‘Equatorial’ and ‘Mystery, Inc.’. Both of these stories kept me gripped the most, but I did enjoy all of them.
While I enjoyed the stories, I didn’t like how some of them ended. Many were open, left to the reader’s imagination, which is good, but I was left with too many unanswered questions. This left me feeling a little confused and unsatisfied.
Overall, The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror was an enjoyable read, and I would be happy to read more stories written by Joyce Carol Oates because her stories are ones that make you think a little deeper, and they explore the true horrors of life.
I have enjoyed doing the female horror author reading challenge. I have found many new authors to add to my ‘Favourites’ list, and I’m looking forward to reading more of these authors’ stories. As a female horror author, it is important that I read and support others like me, so I am glad that I took the time to complete this challenge.
Have you read any of Joyce Carol’s novels? Or have you read any new female horror authors? If you have, then feel free to comment below.
Keep writing, folks!