Cybele - Joyce Carol Oates Oates restrains herself in this short but intense novel, her spare and dryly ironic style proving to be an unsettling counterpoint to the increasingly overripe, unpleasant scenarios in which the "hero" wallows. the goddess Cybele may be a symbol of fecundity, but in Oates' hands, her power over men is more malign. the vehicle: one man's mid-life crisis; the result: morbid preoccupation and surreal excess. Joyce, you are a sick, sick woman. i love you! however, i do wish your novel Cybele was just a wee bit more memorable. it is almost like you boiled down all of your favorite themes to a kind of Oates Template...and then forgot to build a truly compelling narrative around it. i'm just mainly tasting the soup base...and it is too strong, too intensely flavored to enjoy. more nuance, less predestination.

still, even your lesser works shame many an inferior author's best efforts. please never change, cruel and perfect lady!