Short Story Month: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

My next selection of short stories I admire is “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates.

I find that this tale contains one of the most subtly creepy and disturbing descriptions of a character – Arthur Friend – that I’ve ever read. It underscores the truth in Alfred Hitchcock’s quote: “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

The girl’s reactions to Mr. Friend’s attention are worrying. (You’ll see that name is not appropriate.) For any writer who has received critique that their manuscript lacks tension this is a must read.

 

The author at the 2013 LA Times Festival of Books at the USC campus on April 21, 2013 I love that she's using finger quotes.  I do that...
The author at the LA Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California campus on April 21, 2013
I love that she’s using finger quotes.
I do that…

 

If you’ve never read this tale, do it. Do it now.  It’s here.

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4 thoughts on “Short Story Month: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

    1. It’s a great read, Jeri. I hadn’t heard that about Dylan’s song. Now I’m going to have to go back and listen to it again because I love when writing inspires music (and vice versa).

  1. Talk about a powerful creepy story. She really nails the tension, and I love the fact she leaves the story hanging for you to fill in the blanks. Hadn’t heard that about “Its All Over Now…” Don’t get the sense the two are related myself, but then who knows what’s in a poets mind?

    1. So glad you liked it, A.K.! Oates is a master at creating tension and at characterization. I also love that you don’t get all the details of what happened; that makes it so much more creepy to me.

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