Nine intense stories and dark narratives come to life in the short story collection, translated by Claudia Durastanti and edited by Carbonby title Neon night work of the writer Joyce Carol Oates. Set in an alien urban landscape, men and women wander in the folds of feelings.
That feeling, seemingly innocuous, rises page after page on tiptoe veering towards the abyss of terror. Using the term terror, I am not referring specifically to the genre, but I want to evoke that sense of fear that makes us tremble inside, which makes us waver in the face of the mutability of events and the changes that follow. The characters flounder in watered down, broken lives, clouded by the fear of showing themselves, trapped in atmospheres in which the light penetrates weakened.
Looking at the original title of the book “Night, Neon” we could get a translated image of the whole collection. Two words that very well contain the meaning. The Night of life is illuminated by the existence of each of us, be it short or long. The human being is like a neon lamp which produces a light of different intensity according to the type of gas used (the personal essence of the being).
It becomes easy to get lost in a dull life, wandering along unknown yet known roads, meeting individuals with whom it is difficult to interact. It is simple to get lost in your own mind, within yourself or in the thoughts of others. Getting lost by ruining what you have or could have.
Oates’ stories throw us into a vortex of sensations; you just need to have the courage to embark on the journey by turning off the daylight to immerse yourself in the trembling of a faint neon light.