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Zero-sum games are played for lethal stakes in these arresting stories by one of America’s most acclaimed writers, the award-winning, best-selling author of Blonde

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.

About the Author

JOYCE CAROL OATES is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and has been nominated several times for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national best sellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde; and the New York Times best seller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. In 2020 she was awarded the Cino Del Duca World Prize for Literature. She is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Distinguished Professor of the Humanities emerita at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Praise For…

“Electric . . . A vein of feminist horror runs through Zero-Sum . . . [Zero-Sum’s] zero-sum games [advance] to an existential battle between humanity and the destructive forces it has unleashed.”
—Kate Folk, The New York Times Book Review

“A bewitching collection of speculative stories about women dealing with society and violence . . . [The stories in Zero-Sum contain] quintessential Oates intrigue and mystery.”
—Sophia June, Nylon

“An electric story collection from a lit icon . . .  Violence simmers and sometimes boils over.”
—Keziah Weir, Vanity Fair

“Powerfully wrought . . . Zero-sum games are played for lethal stakes in this collection of arresting stories by one of America’s most acclaimed writer . . . Joyce Carol Oates has created a world of erotic obsession, thwarted idealism and ever-shifting identities.”
—Heather Steele, SheerLuxe

“Dark, powerful new tales by the masterful literary icon.”
AARP The Magazine

“Captivating . . . Humanity in all its devilishness is on vibrant display in these short and potent flashes of life in bleak corners. Readers will be spellbound.”
Publishers Weekly, starred

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593535868
ISBN-10: 0593535863
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: July 18th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English