Customer Reviews for

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Must Read! Will Scare You!

    Joyce Carol Oates hardly needs an introduction, so I've left that off in this review. It continues to amaze me that she is so prolific an author, so "current" and so singluar at the same time, while she is over 71 year old. Whether she's writing the somber story of her own widowhood, the story of a family in Niagra Falls during Love Canal days, or the story of a family torn apart by rape, Ms Oates is mesmerizing. She can also scare the life out of you! This collection of stories is well-named; they are your worst nightmares.

    Just in time for Halloween, but even more so, "The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares" is a book you can keep for those weekends when you have friends up: great food is digesting, you're drinking a
    last crystal goblet of wine and you just want a bit of quiet entertainment...a sort of send-off to bed...a reading, a story to remember. This quiet weekend would best be spent in up-state NY, in the Catskills, possibly in a lodge you've all leased for the weekend. Nice...friends, the Fall, wine, an old lodge and Joyce Carol Oates. Run for your bed and pull the covers over your head!!

    "The Corn Maiden," the title story of this collection is creepy. The girls perpetrating unspeakable rituals upon their "corn maiden" are creepy and vile. Jude, the primary perpetrator and leader of her little band of weirdos, is suburban-insane and twisted like few other early teens you'll ever meet. Besides all of this, and mingled with the strange ritualistic purpose for their kidnapping poor, defenseless Marissa of the corn-silk hair, are the frightening unknowns that Ms Oates serves up to us: how kids today live not knowing if they're going to survive tomorrow because of nuclear threats, not knowing if parents will be there for them, not knowing why they've been abandoned, not knowing if food is safe, not knowing if their teacher is a molester, and so on. It's a story about the horrors our children face in their nightmares. In the reading, you'll discover what else Marissa represents; that, too, is a horror, it's all disturbing. It's all good for us to think about.

    Others of the stories also confront the nightmares of disassociation, displacement and dysfunction in families, coupled with the distortions of nature and mind. We know that often the scariest tales are the ones closest to being true or plausible. Not to mention that often those stories happen in the rural places close to home. Joyce Carol Oates was born and raised in up-state NY...think of what Stephen King does for Maine.

    Do you believe a cat can take the breath away; smother a baby? Just because a child imagines she experienced abuse, does that make it true?

    All I can tell you is that this book is not for the faint of heart. Joyce Carol Oates is a seriously great author no matter what she chooses to write. You can count on this being an extraordinarily good book of nightmarish tales on many levels.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 16, 2011

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    Posted May 18, 2012

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    Posted February 15, 2012

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