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The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
     

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares

3.4 14
by Joyce Carol Oates
 

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An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense. “The Corn Maiden” is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet, but somewhat slow, eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Her single mother comes home one night to find her

Overview

An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense. “The Corn Maiden” is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet, but somewhat slow, eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Her single mother comes home one night to find her missing and panics, frantically knocking on the doors of her neighbors. She finally calls the police, who want to know why she left her young daughter alone until 8:00 o’clock. Suspicion falls on a computer teacher at her school with no alibi for the time of the abduction. Obvious clues—perhaps too obvious—point directly to him. Unsuspected is Judah (born Judith), an older girl from the same school who has told two friends in her thrall of the Indian legend of the Corn Maiden, a girl sacrificed to ensure a good crop. The seemingly inevitable fate of Marissa becomes ever more terrifying as Judah relishes her power, leading to unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion.  “Helping Hands,” published here for the first time, begins with an apparently optimistic line: “He came into her life when it had seemed to her that her life was finished.” A lonely woman meets a man in the unlikely clutter of a dingy charity shop and extends friendliness, which soon turns to quiet and unacknowledged desire. With the mind-set of a victim, struggling to overcome her shyness and fears, she has no idea what kinds of doors she may be opening.  The powerful stories in this extraordinary collection further enhance Joyce Carol Oates’s standing as one of the world’s greatest writers of suspense.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
In this chilling audio edition of the latest collection from the prolific Oates, the author offers up a selection of seven dark and psychologically thrilling tales that delve into everything from kidnapping and ritual sacrifice to twins, childhood trauma, and plastic surgery run amok. Of the two narrators, Adam Verner shines the brightest, capturing the tone and rhythm of the author’s prose and demonstrating a keen ability to switch between emotions—something that makes him a perfect reader for these twisting tales. Christine Williams provides workmanlike narration, but her reading lacks the emotional punch and range displayed by Verner, and this makes it feels flat by comparison. A Mysterious Press hardcover. (Nov.)
The Bookwatch
“Psychologically compelling and disturbing, this volume is a strong addition to Oates’s vast body of work.”
Library Journal
From the Publisher
“This chilling audio edition of the latest collection offers up a selection of seven dark and psychologically thrilling tales.”
Publishers Weekly

“A fine account makes for a vivid set of tales recommended for any mystery audio collection.”
The Bookwatch

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611746013
Publisher:
HighBridge Company
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged; 10 hours
Pages:
9
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

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Brief Biography

Hometown:
Princeton, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
June 16, 1938
Place of Birth:
Lockport, New York
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Novellas and Stories of Unspeakable Dread 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Humbee More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fairly good read if you can look past the REALLY bad editing on the Nook version. Also most of the stories have the same basic plot, but different twists. By the end of the book I was kind of over it all. Joyce is a really imaginative writer but this collection really suffered from the editing problems.
pyewacket007 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the stories in this collection, but the typos and errors in my digital copy really made me want to stop reading. It really irks me when I spend as much as I would on an actual book and no one has taken the time to make sure the text is clean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't get why JCO has a rep as a great writer. I think she sucks frankly. These stories were neither scary nor even good enough to keep my attention. I kept skipping ahead thinking they would get better but they didn't. The last one seems to be missing an ending. Just awful, don't waste your time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories aren't "scary", but they are creepy. Probably creepier because they are very realistic. Author seems to understand how the darker parts of the human brain can work and what they can lead to, very dark and very satisfying!
DesC More than 1 year ago
"The Corn Maiden" was the best tale in this collection. It was great watching everything unravel. The other stories were good, especially the one involving the thrift store. I highly recommend this, and I don't like short stories!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates never disappoints...these stories are creepy and disturbing, but also very believable....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got through the first story which I thought was not too bad. But it didn't scare me. A bit freaky, but nothing that left me shaking. As I started to read the next "nightmare" it was so unrealistic to me. I just could not get into it! I ended up just no finishing the novel after that, which is rare for me. I regret buying this book on my nook since I can't return it. Personally, I thought Afraid by Jack Kilborn was a better read. (however though, his book was more of a suspense)
lmparker More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading anything by this author. I can honestly say I won't be purchasing anything from her in the future and was quite glad it was a library book. It was just interesting enough to keep reading but not enough to choose to do it again.