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Pursuit
Cover of Pursuit
Pursuit
A Novel of Suspense
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From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, "a compelling domestic horror story" of a new bride haunted by childhood nightmares (Kirkus Reviews).

Less than twenty-four hours after exchanging vows with her new husband, Willem, Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge, and he quickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what his wife might be hiding. Why, for example is there a rash-like red mark circling her wrist? What does she dream about that causes her to wake from the sound of her own screams?

Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before—a story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug-addled father; a daughter's terrifying captivity; and the demons behind her terrible recurring dreams of wandering through a field ridden with human skulls and bones...
From a recipient of a National Book Award and three Bram Stoker Awards, this suspenseful, twisting tale, named one of the scariest books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, is a "fast-paced examination of the destructive and restorative nature of obsessive love" (Booklist).
From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, "a compelling domestic horror story" of a new bride haunted by childhood nightmares (Kirkus Reviews).

Less than twenty-four hours after exchanging vows with her new husband, Willem, Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge, and he quickly discovers a mysterious set of clues about what his wife might be hiding. Why, for example is there a rash-like red mark circling her wrist? What does she dream about that causes her to wake from the sound of her own screams?

Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before—a story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug-addled father; a daughter's terrifying captivity; and the demons behind her terrible recurring dreams of wandering through a field ridden with human skulls and bones...
From a recipient of a National Book Award and three Bram Stoker Awards, this suspenseful, twisting tale, named one of the scariest books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, is a "fast-paced examination of the destructive and restorative nature of obsessive love" (Booklist).
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  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2019
    A young woman is haunted by a past she doesn't understand in this brief but powerful story of domestic violence. In her latest novel, Oates (My Life as a Rat, 2019, etc.) is in full domestic gothic mode. Like any bride, Abby Hayman is hopeful that she's stepping into a new and happy life. But she has more reason than most to long for transformation. Her parents disappeared when she was 5 years old. After a haphazard upbringing, at 20 she's pulling her life together. She's even put behind her the terrifying nightmares of skeletons hidden in tall grass that tormented her childhood--or so she thinks. Those visions return with a vengeance just before she marries Willem Zengler, a devoutly Christian pre-med student. The day after their wedding, she gets off a bus, then steps in front of it. Was it an accident or a suicide attempt? She's so seriously injured she can't answer the question, spending nine days in a coma and still feeling confused when she awakes. When Willem says, "We need to get to that moment, Abby. When you can tell me what you see," he might be talking about the accident--or about her screaming nightmares. The first part of the book focuses on Abby and her shadowy memories. It intensifies as Oates switches to the points of view of Abby's parents. Her mother married young and raised her baby alone while her husband was serving in the military in Iraq. When he returns, his wife hardly knows him: In the Army "he'd cultivated a cruel use of seemingly ordinary speech, given a mock-Southern inflection. Like a butter knife honed razor-sharp." That cruelty will quickly escalate into PTSD-fueled madness. The book is so submerged in the nightmares that intrude on Abby's life that it's a little shocking to be reminded, by such prosaic items as iPhones and MRIs, that the story takes place in the present, in the real world. A compelling domestic horror story reaches into a young woman's nightmares of her childhood in search of what's real.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 12, 2019
    Billed as a novel of suspense, this creepy thriller from Oates (My Life as a Rat) reads more like an extended short story. Abby Zengler lies in the ICU of a New Jersey hospital after accidentally stepping in front of a bus—or was it an accident? Willem, Abby’s husband of less than a day, is at her bedside, stunned at the swiftness with which their happiness has turned to horror. The couple’s misfortune serves as the frame around an infinitely darker and more disturbing composition. The tale within a tale, which Willem ever-so-gradually teases out of his wife, centers on the doomed relationship between Abby’s mother and soldier father, who years before returned from Iraq to their hometown of Chautauqua Falls, N.Y., abusive, paranoid, and irrationally jealous. Though the pair vanished from Abby’s life at age five, the trauma left in their wake remains so emotionally devastating that she can handle only glimpses of what transpired in her nightmares. The reader may well feel the same way. Oates reinforces her place as the grand mistress of ghoulishness. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Assoc.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2019
    Menacing images of skulls and skeletons have haunted Abby since she was a little girl. There had to be a link to the reality that was her life, but she was too young and too unmoored to make the connection. Her father had run off and was, perhaps, dead. Her mother, too, and Abby's life with an aunt who reluctantly provides the most basic of homes for her is a lesson in abject poverty. So when Abby meets Willem, an honorable, devout man who promises to cherish her and keep her safe, their marriage seems like the answer to her prayers. Except the ghastly images won't go away. Burdened with the fear that she is unworthy of Willem's love, Abby is involved in a near-fatal accident the day after their wedding. But was it an accident or an intentional act of self-harm? Staccato pacing and Oates' deftly malevolent yet nuanced characterizations contribute to this fast-paced examination of the destructive and restorative nature of obsessive love.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Kirkus Reviews, on Night-Gaunts

    "Consummately well-written, stylistically dashing...forthrightly nightmarish"

  • Booklist, on Night-Gaunts

    "Oates' spookiness is visceral, psychologically involving, and socially astute."

  • Times (UK), on High Crime Area

    "This writer is extraordinary not because she produces such huge amount, but because what she produces is so consistently good. And short stories show her invention, economy and control at its best . . . Oates perfectly captures the atmosphere of fear and well-meaning misunderstanding."

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Pursuit
Pursuit
A Novel of Suspense
Joyce Carol Oates
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