Mudwoman

Mudwoman

2.1 30
by Joyce Carol Oates
     
 

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“Oates is just a fearless writer…with her brave heart and her impossibly lush and dead-on imaginative powers.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“[An] extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant novel.”
Booklist (starred review)

One of the most acclaimed writers in the world today, the inimitable

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Overview

“Oates is just a fearless writer…with her brave heart and her impossibly lush and dead-on imaginative powers.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“[An] extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant novel.”
Booklist (starred review)

One of the most acclaimed writers in the world today, the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates follows up her searing, New York Times bestselling memoir, A Widow’s Story, with an extraordinary new work of fiction. Mudwoman is a riveting psychological thriller, taut with dark suspense, that explores the high price of repression in the life of a respected university president teetering on the precipice of a nervous breakdown. Like Daphne DuMaurier’s gothic masterwork, Rebecca, and the classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, Oates’s Mudwoman is a chilling page-turner that hinges on the power of the imagination and the blurry lines between the real and the invented—and it stands tall among the author’s most powerful and beloved works, including The Falls, The Gravedigger’s Daughter, and We Were the Mulvaneys.

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Editorial Reviews

Maria Russo
Even as it travels over familiar Oates territory, there's a freshness to this novel, a sense of some new, more personal beginning. It's bold of Joyce Carol Oates to paint achievement akin to her own as just the flip side of victimization—and it's perhaps even bolder to make such visceral drama from the story of a workaholic who finally confronts life unhooked from a keyboard.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Oates begins her 38th novel with a nod to Nietzsche (“What is man? A ball of snakes”) that lies at the mud-caked heart of this tale of the rise and stumbling fall of M.R. Neukirchen, a brilliant academic whose childhood starts in the mudflats of the Black Snake River, where she is abandoned in 1965. But by 2002, M.R. has reached the top of the ivory tower. After a full ride to Cornell, and a Ph.D. from Harvard, she is now, at 41, the first female president of another Ivy institution. M.R.’s ambitious plans include upending the patriarchy and increasing diversity on campus, but both prove difficult in the post-9/11 “era of ‘Patriotism’” as the U.S. prepares to invade Iraq. M.R.’s identity, idealism, and sanity are all threatened as she wades through obstacles, including sabotaging right-wing colleagues and students. Though she has never considered herself the victim of sexism, M.R. must confront her gender when it becomes the lens through which her leadership is judged. Likewise, the philosophical question she has dedicated her career to answering—what is the self?—must be turned inward. Oates’s prose, dominated by run-on sentences to imitate fury or swiftness and a colloquial voice lacking nuance, is uninspired, but fans will relish the depth of this inquiry. (Mar.)
Booklist (starred review)
“Extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant... Masterfully enmeshing nightmare with reality, Oates has created a resolute, incisive, and galvanizing drama about our deep connection to place, the persistence of the past, and the battles of a resilient soul under siege… A major, controversy-ready novel from high-profile, protean Oates.”
Ms. Magazine
"Joyce Carol Oates’ latest novel is about many things, but first and foremost it is about the complications of being a high-achieving woman in the 21st century…Oates tells [her protagonist’s story] with a detail and relish that’s both heartbreaking and fascinating."
O: the Oprah Magazine
“This chilling novel opens with a child left to die in a silty riverbed, a memory that no amount of later life success can erase.”
The New Yorker
“[A] powerful novel…[Oates] deftly interweaves M.R.’s present, memories of her troubled childhood, and her feverish hallucinations…This hypnotic novel suggests that forgetting the past may be the heavy cost that success demands.”
Huffington Post
“Uniquely personal… an intriguing departure from token Oates tales.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Madness and malevolence squirm on almost every page in Joyce Carol Oates’ 38th novel… Oates’ dark brilliance is ever evident in her main characters, complex souls with mysterious corners in their psyches…”
Wall Street Journal
“…The Oates style, with its fractious barrage of dashes, suggests what [Emily] Dickenson might have produced if she had written doorstop novels instead of short poems…[Oates] is especially perceptive in showing the political tightrope that M.R. has to walk in her powerful but fragile position at the university…”
New York Post
“[A] disturbing, psychological thriller.”
USA Today
“Oates [displays] the insights into human bonds that make her brilliant....Oates makes [her character’s] torment come alive. We grasp her compulsion to return to the mud of the past in order find her true self.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
“[A] disturbing exploration of selfhood…As always, Joyce Carol Oates masterfully evokes a sense of menace, if not malevolence, while drawing her readers deep into the psychology of her characters… a dark, intelligent and deeply compelling novel... which will hold you in its thrall until the end.”
New York Times Book Review
“There’s a freshness to this novel, a sense of some new, more personal beginning. It’s bold... to paint achievement... as just the flip side of victimization—and it’s perhaps even bolder to make such visceral drama from the story of a workaholic who finally confronts life unhooked from a keyboard.”
Financial Times
“Oates is an extremely visceral writer…Mudwoman is a genuinely unsettling book in which Oates pays her readers the compliment of never letting them settle or even being entirely sure about what they have just read.”
New York Review of Books
“Mudwoman is very good at the performance of the public life of the woman president…The unraveling of this performance is grippingly horrible.”
Ms. magazine
“Joyce Carol Oates’ latest novel is about many things, but first and foremost it is about the complications of being a high-achieving woman in the 21st century…Oates tells [her protagonist’s story] with a detail and relish that’s both heartbreaking and fascinating.”
Booklist
"Extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant... Masterfully enmeshing nightmare with reality, Oates has created a resolute, incisive, and galvanizing drama about our deep connection to place, the persistence of the past, and the battles of a resilient soul under siege… A major, controversy-ready novel from high-profile, protean Oates."
the Oprah Magazine O
“This chilling novel opens with a child left to die in a silty riverbed, a memory that no amount of later life success can erase.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007481811
Publisher:
Fourth Estate, Limited
Publication date:
08/28/2012

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