An eerie, unforgettable story of power, loss, and family curses in early 20th century Princeton.
Princeton, New Jersey at the turn of the 20th century: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a neighbouring farm, muck-raking novelist Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of The Jungle, has taken up residence with his family.
Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House has retired to town for a quieter life. Meanwhile, the elite families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse—their daughters are disappearing.
A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man—a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil.
In the Pine Barrens on the edge of town, a mysterious and persuasive evil takes shape. When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from presidents past to its brightest literary luminaries, from Mark Twain to Jack London, as he navigates both the idyllic town and the Dante-esque landscape of the Barrens.
An utterly fresh work from Oates, The Accursed marks new territory for the masterful writer–narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling fantastical elements to stunning effect.
‘A thrilling tale in the best gothic tradition, a lesson in master craftsmanship…it has vampires, demons, angels, murder, lynching, beatings, rape, sex, parallel worlds, Antarctic voyages, socialism, sexism, racism, paranoia, gossip, spiritualism, and escalating insanity…The story sprawls, reaches, demands, tears, and shrieks in homage to the traditional gothic, yet with fresh, surprising twists and turns… Hang on for the ride.’ Publishers Weekly
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Gripping old-fashioned horror story
What a slog!
With a rambling style this book left me anything but thrilled. Perhaps someone who enjoys a very dry sudo historical text would enjoy it more.