Joyce Carol Oates writes in a fast-paced style, taking readers quickly through scenes that change from speaker to speaker and time frame to time frame. As a result, it is difficult at times to keep up with the storyline. Still, The Pursuit is an intriguing novel that is definitely worth reading, especially if you are a fan of this legendary, award-winning author.
The short, spare Pursuit succeeds on the level of its ambition: creepy, violent and occasionally affecting ... Although this frame story drags somewhat, Pursuit intensifies in its second half ... Pursuit has a plot that is duly horrifying, but except for Nicola, the characters in the novel – like its title, perhaps – are unmemorable, indifferent. The stilted courtship of Abby and Willem provokes a shock when the reader realizes, through the mentions of iPhones and MRI machines, that the novel isn’t taking place in the 1950s. Suspenseful and disturbing, Pursuit will appeal to Oates’ mystery fans, less so to the admirers of her literary work.
...brief but powerful ... Oates...is in full domestic gothic mode ... The book is so submerged in the nightmares that intrude on Abby’s life that it’s a little shocking to be reminded, by such prosaic items as iPhones and MRIs, that the story takes place in the present, in the real world. A compelling domestic horror story reaches into a young woman’s nightmares of her childhood in search of what’s real.