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Book review: 'Give Me Your Heart'
Book review: 'Give Me Your Heart'

Dread, in fiction, can be a magnificent thing. Joyce Carol Oates, in her latest collection of short stories, "Give Me Your Heart," spends a great deal of time conjuring dread, that conviction that calamity lies just beyond the end of the sentence, possibly the next paragraph. It's the compulsion to know the impending catastrophe that propels the reader forward through these 10 tales — a voyeuristic desire to watch the deeply flawed (or at least unreliable) narrators in these stories march toward a certain, sorry fate. The title story takes the shape of a letter from a woman to the lover who spurned her 23 years earlier. She requests, or possibly insists, that the...