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By Brandon Read
As usual, Cumberland County College has launched their latest One Book One College literary work for the fall semester. This collection of work is the book entitled, “Faithless: Tales of Transgression,” which is written by award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates. A Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978, she is also a recipient of the National Book Award and the FEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction.
Amazon.com shares, “Faithless: Tales of Transgression” is a collection of twenty-one unforgettable stories. Oates dives into th mysterious private lives of men and women with vivid, unsparing precision and sympathy. By turns interlocutor and interpreter, magician and realist, she breaks down the psyches of ordinary people and their potential for good and evil with chilling understatement and lasting power.”
OBOC Committee Chair and CCC Professor, Sharon Kewish, shares the committee’s decision to invite Oates to campus and why they selected “Faithless” as the book for OBOC this year. Kewish states, “The OBOC committee decided to choose a collection of short stories this year instead of a novel or biography. It took many months, actually nearly a year, to narrow our choices. We kept seeing Joyce Carol Oates’ name in each collection of multiple authors and decided to review only collections of her stories, of which there are more than 25. She is part of the American literature canon, critically acclaimed internationally as well as nationally. Her stories are based on reality, many of which are ripped from the headlines. Her stories can be read on many different levels -psychological, philosophical.”
Other works Oates has written have become national bestsellers such as, “We Were the Mulvaneys” and “Blonde,” which also was nominated for the National Book Award. The New York Times Book Review raves, “Faithless: Tales of Transgression makes its brisk incisions into the themes of terror, female passion, collapsing male identity, loneliness, divorce, revenge and not a little gun ownership… Again and again (Oates) finds new language to describe the immensity of desire.. She twists back against our assumptions, seeking always the gristly pop of revelation.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune agrees, “Outstanding… Some of (Oates) best stories to date… Rarely have drama and philosophy been so compellingly married… This volume deserves to be part of your permanent collection.” The Boston Globe concludes, “Mesmerizing… illuminating…astonishing. Not only does it cut close to the bone, it cuts close to the headlines. The writing is so vivid it’s breathless.”
The entire campus community is invited to listen to Oates reflect on her writing in the Fine and Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. If you have never had a chance to meet a renowned author or well-known person in our society, this is a chance of a lifetime. With all the things going on at CCC, this is one of the events you do not want to miss.