In short, The Accursed is Joyce Carol Oates does vampires. The full picture, though, is of course much more complex.In the university town of Princeton, New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson is a nervous wreck. Grover Cleveland and his much younger wife are around causing trouble, and the Slade family is preparing to marry off their oldest daughter. The drama of a university town escalates from petty collegiate squables to something more supernatural, something more dangerous and nefarious than thought. The fairy tale elements, as well as European nobility from a little region called Wallachia, are worked into the historical setting.Annabel Slade is abducted by her vampire/demon lover, and all hell breaks loose. However, the narrator of The Accursed, one M.W. van Dyck, challenges in his historical review that mysterious things started happening before Slade's abduction, like the appearance of a ghost to Grover Cleveland. The Curse, as van Dyck calls it, is the subject of his historical framing of events (because things do get much weirder, including but no limited to children turning into statues and snakes invading a girls' school). He is not always the most reliable narrator but his dedication to decoding secret diaries and proving that his interpretation of events is in line with an asthmatic adventure-academic type personality. So, instead of the narrator being a distraction, van Dyck helps build the suspense and tension around the plot by his erudition on the supernatural. The hauntings extend to Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and even to Woodrow Wilson when he vacations in the Caribbean. There are many faces of the evil force influencing the upright, WASP-y citizens of Princeton and some of the surprise/challenge/delight of this novel is spotting where the vampires and demons choose to reappear. It's dangerous living in Princeton, not just because of the drama associated with social change, like one female character deciding to move to New York City on her own and the lynching that occurs just outside the boundaries of Princeton, but also because there is a realm of demons literally in one family's backyard.In summary, The Accursed is a whirlwind story of the supernatural and the reactions of a famous community to the unknown. At almost 700 pages The Accursed is a brick, but the plot and suspense is handled in such a way that the novel is just long enough to tie up the intricate series of events.