Last week, we read Wild Nights: Stories about the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway, by Joyce Carol Oates. One person loved it, a few of use liked it (including me) and others thought it was just too strange to finish. I merely liked it because I didn’t think it was her best work. I think she’s much better at novels that allow her to develop characters and storylines. Still, some of the stories were engaging. The one on Henry James was probably the best one. The one that imagined Emily Dickinson as replicant was also quite clever — an interesting comment on fame and its discontents. The one about Twain and his club of “Angelfish” — i.e. prepubescent little girls — was downright creepy. The one about Hemingway was quite moving and I was surprised I liked it since I don’t care for Hemingwary (then again, it’s Oates writing like Hemingway). So, while I wasn’t blown away by this, I think the concept of Oates attempting to write like great authors is worth checking out.