Wild Nights!: Stories about the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway
Joyce Carol Oates
Ecco, Apr 2008, $24.95
“Poe Posthumous; or The Light-House". Off Chile a lonely morose Poe kept a dairy while tending a lighthouse as its keeper even though he died a few months ago.
"EDickinsonRepliLuxe". In futuristic New Jersey, the mouse and the louse Krim couple buy an android of Emily Dickinson expecting poetry to brighten their lives, but instead the author finds them tedious and wants her freedom.
"Grandpa Clemens & Angelfish 1906". The famous author is being sued for his platonic relationships with teenage girls while his outraged adult daughter plans to testify against her father.
"The Master at St. Bartholomew's Hospital 1914-1916". Henry James does not want to enter the hospital ward filled wounded soldiers, but has no choice as he volunteered to help these “dear boys”.
"Papa at Ketchum 1961". Hemingway is planning his last word, suicide.
The concept is brilliant and the execution superb as each tale provides insight into five of America’s most famous authors. All her well written although the Clemens piece is by far the most disturbing and the Poe entry perhaps the weakest (still enjoyable). Fans of the American classics will relish this fine anthology as Joyce carol Oates proves a fabulous impersonator who emulates the writing styles of five of the greats.