Cover Image: The (Other) You

The (Other) You

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates.

Listen, by now, I'm a fan of the Oates!  I really like how she's not afraid to go their with her dark domestic dramas.

Having said that, I was not a fan of these short stories.  They were like eating graham crackers, but like, the generic kind, and they're kind of stale.  They just got me nowhere and made me feel sad.  And normally I love graham crackers.  Take that as you will.
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I've been a Joyce Carol Oates fan for many years and will continue to be until she quits writing -- which I hope is never. I enjoyed this short story collection and I'm not a big short story person usually, but the themes of these connected and really worked for me. I love stories that ask "What If?"
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It's impossible to go wrong with Oates, and this collection of stories is just another dose of brilliance from her. I've recommended it to several others, and look forward to including it in an upcoming round-up of my favorite books of the year.
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JCO is one of my top five authors and I adore her short story collections.  This one is no different.  Had to buy a hard copy for my collection too.  It's a beautiful book!
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Joyce Carol Oates writes a lot. There is some repetition in her works. She is an author you can pick up casually, every so often. I do not think reading all of her work is necessary to get a sense of the themes and techniques she uses.
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I read about halfway through and I just couldn’t get into it at all. The stories all seem to be related, especially those taking place at the same restaurant, but that just felt strange. I think the story lines were just too complex for me to follow.
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I love anything by Joyce Carol Oates. With that said, I am more a fan of her novels than her short stories. However, this collection was woven together in a way that really worked for me. I loved the ideas within and between the stories. The imaginative way themes of time, alternative realities, love, friendship, aging, relationships and life choices were all compelling to read. I enjoyed the many ways Oates intertwined the "Purple Onion" stories together, each having a different purpose or part to play in the broader story. I really loved the reflections on couples aging together and the things we are proud to have accomplished or regret having done. 
Overall, this was a well designed compilation of stories into themes that overlapped or played off each other. For all the Oates fans out there, this is a definitely recommended collection. I enjoyed these stories and their themes.
#TheOtherYou #Netgalley #Ecco
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Another great story collection from Joyce Carol Oates. In this collection she follows a theme of "the other you" or what would happen if you made different choices in life.   This is a theme that I often enjoy in books or movies, whether it is tales of parallel universes or "what if" stories. 

Many of the stories also had common elements, like a suicide bombing in a cafe, that popped out.   One of the stories that stands out in my mind is "Waiting for Kizer" where a man named Matt runs into his "other self" Matthew, both men are waiting for their friend Kizer at a restaurant and discover their common name and other common things in their lives but there are significant differences.  

I enjoyed the collection and recommend it to others.   It's also available in audio format, so give it a listen!
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Absolutely Fantastic and Extraordinarily readable!

Sometimes a short story collection by Joyce Carol Oates is JUST what the doctor ordered! Oates has serious writing expertise. I have been reading her work for years. The (Other) You is merely one example of her extraordinary ability to woo and wow her reader. If you are an Oates or just a short story fan even.. than this is for you!
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So.. this is a collection of 15 stories that are on the dark side, that also asks, what if we had made other choices?  What would our alternate destinies look like?
These are stories of remorse and violence, loss and longing.
I don’t know how she comes up with her ideas, but I think she’s brilliant!  
She’s becoming a favorite author, and I just loved her novel especially!  Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Ecco for the ARC!
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The (Other) You is an anthology of short stories by the incomparable Joyce Carol Oates. There are fifteen stories in this book and not one disappoints, though a few left me feeling devastated. In some ways, this book is the story of what might have been. Many stories look at those life choices that turn us from one future to another.  A few seem to be exploring the idea of the multiverse such as in “Waiting for Kizer” where a man meets someone who has his name and much of his history, differing only in a few ways, while they both wait for their good friend Kizer who they lunch with at the Purple Onion, a vegetarian cafe with an outdoor patio that reappears frequently in several stories.

Oates looks at the male-female relationship several times. In “The Bloody Head” she tells the story of a woman losing herself to a man’s demands. This happens in a far more stark way in “Where Are You?” Other stories show how enduring love can be, even when navigating impatience and familiarity as in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” In many ways, this felt incredibly true to life.

Three stories were emotionally shattering examinations of grief, something she has come to know well since her husband’s death. “Hospice/Honeymoon” left me feeling so overwhelmed I put the book away for a few days. Then came  “Subaqueous” and “Nightgrief” both also demanding a break after reading them.

I love how she bookends her anthology with “The (Other) You” and “The Unexpected.” Both happen in Yewville (Youville!!!) and seem to reflect each other perfectly. One is the story of the woman who chose marriage and children over her ambition to write and the other the writer returning to her hometown to the unexpected resentment of a woman who might have been a writer but who chose motherhood.

I have always liked Joyce Carol Oates. She writes with clarity and economy, but with such rich interior emotional heft. She can write her way into the minds of people on both sides of highly polarized issues such as the abortion war in “The Book of American Martyrs.”  I think The (Other) You is one of her best books because it feels the most personal. And yes, I took note of her warning that memoirist writing is fiction in “The Happy Place” but her writing on grief comes from experience and that is why it is so emotionally devastating.

I received an e-galley of The (Other) You from the publisher through NetGalley.

The (Other) You at Ecco Books | The (Other) You
Joyce Carol Oates on Twitter
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The (Other) You is a powerful collection of short stories which explore the possibilities of alternate actions and outcomes.  As always Joyce Carol Oates delivers a thoughtful and well crafted work.
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A book of short stories, 15 to be exact, that looks at the "what if" that happens every time you choose a different direction in your life.  As in all anthologies, some of the stories are better than others and as in all Joyce Carol Oates books, you will find yourself challenged by her examination of life.  The detail she includes in her stories is amazing.  Even these shorter tales give us a complete look at the either/or of the characters lives.  Read this book, you will be amazed.
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I do love Ms Oates novels, just not as big a fan of short stories. She does tie this group together as what the future would be like if the main character had made different choices in life. Her writing style is brave and her subject matter seems almost personal as several of the stories explore aging and personal loss.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the ARC to read and review.
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The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates is a collection of short stories that explores the impact of small decisions and what alternative lives may have happened had we made different choices. This is a powerful topic the book addresses and each short story provides a fresh perspective on these parallel lives. 

One of the short stories that stood out to me was "The Happy Place". This was a unique story that explores the projections we place on those around us, particularly those that we do not know well but are intrigued by. The professor's creative life stories and trauma she placed on one of her students was unhinged as she notes her deceased husband recommended she detach emotionally due to her history. It's clear the professor is still unable to do so when she experiences a betrayal after meeting the students parents and that the students fictional writing may not reflect reality. However it is also an interesting commentary as the professor continues to project her own beliefs and interpretations when the "happy family" could still be true to the student's story whether they seem happy or not as an outsider. The writing is clear and has a stream of consciousness style. The voice of the characters in the short stories were distinct for each and the professor in this story had a particularly dramatic style that seemed to correspond well with her profession. Overall this was an interesting read and I believe many readers would find several short stories to enjoy in this collection!

Many thanks to the publisher Ecco and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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In this newest collection of short stories, Joyce Carol Oates explores the “what ifs” and “what might’ve beens” that exist in the corners of the mind. Sometimes the alternatives seem better, and sometimes they don’t, and sometimes places aren’t as you remembered them. A woman who dreamed of being a writer becomes a bookshop owner instead. A girl arrives home from school early to find a memorial service taking place in her apartment. And a man waiting for an old friend at a café meets two familiar strangers. With these meditative narratives, Oates seems to be urging her reader not to dwell in a past that has already occurred but to be present, to be the person you want to be rather than a shadow of that other self. But she acknowledges and even explores difficulty of pursing that self. With this collection, Oates also expertly illuminates how easily women can lose pieces of themselves in their efforts to care for others, especially men. Overall, these focused stories round out an excellent collection.
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This collection is an incredible, if at times unnerving, exploration of what could have been. Each story takes a wholly original approach to the question of what if, and most left me feeling vaguely out of it in the best way possible. Collections of short stories can often feel either so closely connected that stories become repetitive or so disconnected that the entire thing feels disjointed, but this one fell perfectly in the middle. Plus, it starts with a story in the second person. I love nothing more. Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite authors for a reason, and for me, this collection simply cemented her place at the top.
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A book of short stories running along the theme of who we are and who we might have been. The book was a delightful quick read and the stories and lessons learned from them are thought provoking. The only thing is I do prefer Joyce Carol Oates full length novels. She does character in depth so amazingly well but she did a fantastic job with these short stories! Highly recommended!
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"The (Other) You" is an intimate collection of short stories, almost like narrative (fictional) essays that focus on aging, grief, and the effects of choices that we make, how it impacts others. There is something surreal about these stories I cannot express. I guess almost like the ghost of memories, out of body experiences, or Déjà vu. Even more strangely, many of the stories feature second-person narration ("you") so it's as though Joyce Carol Oates is actually describing your dreams to you. There is something meta about these stories; Oates has scattered throughout the collection a number of linked stories about encounters that take place in a cafe called The Purple Onion. 

I personally loved the collection of shorts. It was almost Borges in nature. 

Thank you NetGalley and Ecco for the ARC for my honest review.
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I have been a huge Joyce Carol Oates fan since I read "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" when I was in high school.  While "The (Other) You" is a collection of short stories, it still packs the same JCO punch that I have come to love.  She tackles difficult and sensitive topics in a respectful, yet realistic, way.  This story collection was very thought-provoking and didn't shy away from anything.  Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.
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