The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror
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In the title story, a young boy becomes obsessed with his cousin’s doll after she tragically passes away from leukemia. As he grows older, he begins to collect “found dolls” from the surrounding neighborhoods and stores his treasures in the abandoned carriage house on his family's estate. But just what kind of dolls are they? In “Gun Accident,” a teenage girl is thrilled when her favorite teacher asks her to house-sit, even on short notice. But when an intruder forces his way into the house while the girl is there, the fate of more than one life is changed forever. In “Equatorial,” set in the exotic Galapagos, an affluent American wife experiences disorienting assaults upon her sense of who her charismatic husband really is, and what his plans may be for her.
In The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the “fascination of the abomination” that is at the core of the most profound, the most unsettling, and the most memorable of dark mystery fiction.
what a judge is thinking. But following my lawyer’s argument the judge granted bail against the prosecutor’s wishes, of $110,000; and following this, there began to be donations sent to me in care of my lawyer and the Public Defender’s Office my defense fund—which was a total surprise to me. These were small-denomination bills, that came with some of the letters. And there were citizens in Glassboro who came forward to donate money including some prominent citizens (who wished to remain
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belligerent, bemused. Travis insisted that I swallow another mouthful of whiskey. Another time much of it dribbled onto my clothing, and some of it down my throat. Travis was gripping my hand at the wrist, hard. He joked how he could snap my “sparrow arm” anytime he wanted. I was beginning to feel sickish, light-headed. “All your family, you think you’re too good for the Reidls. But I have news for you.” Travis drank more whiskey. To force me to drink, he slid his arm around the nape of my
a perfect night.” He was gripping her hand with unusual eagerness. He urged her out onto the deck, which was the second-level deck, and brightly lit, and crowded, for at the prow of the ship was an open-air bar decorated as if it were a tropical café, where a trio of Ecuadoran musicians and a young woman singer were performing, and a few couples were dancing. How festive it was! And above, scarcely visible beyond the bright lights, a sickle moon, which the wife could just manage to see. By
of the art—for mystery’s sake. That is the bedrock of our business: Mystery, Inc. Some of us are booksellers, and some of us are consumers, or are consumed. But all of us have our place in the noble trade.” There is a ringing in my ears. My mouth is so very dry, it is virtually impossible to swallow. My teeth are chattering for I am very cold. Except for its frothy remains my second cup of cappuccino is empty—I have set it on Neuhaus’s desk, but so shakily that it nearly falls over. Neuhaus