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Publisher Description

A major historical novel from "one of the great artistic forces of our time" (The Nation)—an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned

Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin 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, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.

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 Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain–all plagued by "accursed" visions.

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 supernatural elements to stunning effect.

Fiction & Literature
March 5

Customer Reviews

frjeffgatlin ,


While it lasted s a great story, the author spends so much time with side stories that it became tedious to read. The author would build up great parts of the story yet at the climax, say that the records were not left to confirm. I forced my way through to be disappointed at the end.

Hockeyburke ,

Just. Awful

The most ridiculous waste of time I have ever read. I kept reading too, thinking at some point Oates would pull the book together and it would be worth the effort, but that never happened. Ridiculous. Awful. Terrible.

Peg1gy ,

The Accursed

This book is written in a very old style. It reminded me of the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody stories, but not as well done. A lot of detail, a lot of characters, several different points of view, and very, very slow moving. I found myself getting lost and losing interesting many times as I read and read. However, it is a good story with people whom I began to care about in spite of the drawn out side stories.

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