Published by Highbridge Audio on September 3, 2013
Source: Audiobook obtained through Audiobook Jukebox
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong
by Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prominent writers of her generation, and she is fearless when exploring the most disturbing corners of human nature. In Evil Eye, Oates offers four chilling tales of love gone horribly wrong, showing the lengths people will go to find love, keep it, and sometimes end it.
In “Evil Eye,” we meet Mariana, the young 4th wife of a prominent intellectual. When her husband’s brazen first wife visits one night, Mariana learns a terrible secret that threatens her marriage and sanity. In “So Near, Anytime, Always,” shy teenager Lizbeth meets Desmond, a charming boy who offers this introverted girl the first sparks of young romance. Yet just as their relationship begins to blossom, Lizbeth realizes that beneath Desmond’s perfect façade lies a dark soul that could wreak havoc on Lizbeth and her loved ones. In “The Execution,” spoiled college student Bart Hansen has planned the perfect, brutal crime to get back at his parents for their years of condescension. Yet what he didn’t plan for is a mother whose love is more resilent than he could have ever imagined, who threatens to derail his carefully laid-out plans.
I enjoyed all four stories, although the second story, “So Near, Anytime, Always” was both my favorite story and narrator. I haven’t read a lot of Joyce Carol Oates, but obviously that’s something I need to remedy. I love short stories, but often in collections there’s an unevenness to them. Oates is a wonderful, talented writer, so although I preferred the second story, they were all good.
The first story sets the tone. Evil Eye is mysterious, open to interpretation. Mariana could be the heroine in any horror story- fragile and vulnerable when she meets her husband, she’s so unsure of herself even after marriage. It had a very Bluebeard’s Wife vibe to it. It was creepy listening to this during my early morning/later evening drives. Hell, it was creepy in the broad daylight too.
In the second story, Lizbeth is a young girl I could identify with. Like Mariana, she’s a little unsure of herself. Desmond seems like a dream come true. I loved the ending, and it’s definitely a cautionary tale.
The third story has to based on Christopher Porco and crimes. I’m telling ya’ll, I watch entirely too much ID channel. Oates puts her own spin on things, and the ending was a nice surprise. I liked that it was told from Bart’s point of view, but honestly, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the story through his mother’s eyes.
The last story is “The Flat-Bed” and it’s about a woman confronting her past for the first time. The story unfolds slowly, layer upon layer, until the picture is clear. This one caused me to drive a bit more than I necessarily needed to so that I could listen to it more. The who and why behind the main character’s problems was a burning question in my mind.
The narrators (in order, I believe) are: Donna Postel, Luci Christian, Chris Patton and Tamara Marston. I loved all four of them!
I haven’t heard anything by any of them previously, but Luci Christian narrates Diana Peterfreund’s Killer Unicorn series, so I will definitely be checking that out! Chris Patton has also narrated some books that I’m interested in checking out, so he’s going on my narrator list too.
All four narrators do a great job, bringing the stories to life. I like that there’s a narrator for each story, and I can imagine that each one was chosen with care to be the voice of their particular story. I would definitely listen to future audiobook by any of them.