Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Freebie: "Give Me Your Heart" by Joyce Carol Oates

Congratulations to Cassandra Neace, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: a signed copy of Alyson Hagy's short story collection Ghosts of Wyoming.

This week's giveaway is a copy of Joyce Carol Oates' forthcoming book of spooky, off-kilter tales, Give Me Your Heart.  This short story collection from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt doesn't hit bookstores until Jan. 7, but the winner of the Friday Freebie should have a copy in their hands well before that.  Be the first on your block to wave your shiny new JCO hardcover around in the air!

Publishers Weekly has this to say about Give Me Your Heart:
The heart is a lonely hunter, and it also is vengeful, untrusting, and cruel, as Oates (The Female of the Species) proves in this fine collection of 10 tightly focused tales about love and its aftermath.  In the epistolary title story, a young woman writing after many years to her alleged abuser, a biblical scholar, inspires sympathy at first, but a very different emotion by the end.  Hidden snapshots propel a man into obsession about his wife's past in "The First Husband."  The ambiguous memories of a woman with a history of drug and mental problems build to a crescendo in "Smother."  A 13-year-old girl finds her resolve when she's the only female with a group of drunken, threatening men in "Strip Poker."  A na├»ve college student's attempt to help a nine-year-old girl goes horribly wrong in "Bleeed."  Each story shows the power of Oates's never-ending clear, clean prose.
 While leafing through my copy of the book, I found this opening sentence from "Split/Brain," which reminds me of all those horror movies where we, the audience, shout at the screen: "Don't go in there, you idiot!"
In that instant of entering the house by the rear door when she sees, or thinks she sees, a fleeting movement like a shadow in the hallway beyond the kitchen and she hears a sharp intake of breath or panting, it is her decision not to retreat in panicked haste from her house but to step forward, sharply calling, Jeremy?  Is that you?

If you'd like to be tingled and chilled by Give Me Your Heart, all you have to do to enter the contest is answer this question:

Which 1969 novel by Oates won the National Book Award?

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  In order to give everyone a fair shake in the contest, please e-mail the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  The contest closes at midnight on Dec. 23, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Dec. 24 (just in time to give someone a very merry Christmas).

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