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The Corn Maiden: And Other Nightmares [Kindle Edition]

Joyce Carol Oates
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Book Description

One day an 11-year-old girl disappears. She was playing with friends from school. The crop is strengthened by her blood...

Marissa is an innocent girl, with hair the colour of corn-silk. She does not hold others in strange thrall, as some young women do, she obeys her parents, she does not stay late after school, lingering on her walk through the swaying heads of maize. She is the perfect sacrifice...

In Joyce Carol Oates' nightmarish world, teenaged girls are empowered by ritual killing, plastic surgeons perform bloodcurdling operations and birthdays rip families apart. Compulsively readable, told in razor-sharp prose, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares is the brilliant new offspring of one of America's most terrifying imaginations.

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Product Description


'Even within the wild and tangled menagerie that comprises our literary landscape, Joyce Carol Oates is a startling creature, possessed of a speed and talent that hints at the uncanny ... The Corn Maiden provides further confirmation of a unique writer's restless, preternatural brilliance' Guardian.

'For horror stories to be truly horrific, the reader has to care. Oates feels this deeply in her writing and delivers with style' Independent on Sunday.

'Oates has a talent for creating suspense and surprise, while apparently withholding nothing' The Times.

'Oates unerringly manages to unsettle the reader, preying deftly and mercilessly on our deepest anxieties' Metro.

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over 70 works and the winner of a host of prizes including the National Book Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has been nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Oates is Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 863 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #158,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including 'We Were the Mulvaneys', which was an Oprah Book Club Choice, and 'Blonde', which was nominated for the National Book Award. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories by a great author 26 Oct. 2011
Melancholy and agony are the two prevalent elements in this short story collection that comes out in America next week; agony about what tomorrow is going to bring, and melancholy for everything that the protagonists are going or have gone through and about their lives' ever repeating deadlocks.
The title story, which has the size of a novella, is I'd dare say the best by far. Reading through it we come to find out about the tragic events that take place in the life of a desperate woman, but we are also given a chance to have a good look into the darkness of some young souls. It all begins when eleven year old Marissa goes missing. The first suspect is a young professor, but soon enough he's cleared since he has an alibi. Leah, the girl's mother thinks that he's innocent too and somehow, little by little she starts getting close to him. As they talk things over they come to think that there's a big conspiracy taking place behind their backs. And a conspiracy there is. However, when the drama reaches its peak things take an unexpected turn which leads in a crude and ironical way to the fulfillment of somebody's dream.
Brad Shiftke and Stacey Lynn, a mysterious man and a young woman, star in Beersheba. Brad lives in Carthage, New York, where he one day meets Stacey who comes to visit. As it turns out she's his second wife's daughter. According to her he's to blame for her mother's death. Now she's here to seek revenge.
Jessica is a little girl that doesn't feel so well these days. She and her family are in a house on the mountains, a place she loves, but this time she cannot really enjoy her stay there. And that's only because the baby is with them; her newborn sister that draws all the attention on her and makes her jealous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Queen of the Modern Conte Cruel 9 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the few writers whose work gets better as she goes on. I especially like her because she eschews formulas and attempts originality, not writing the same book over and over again. The titular story in this collection, beautifully written, is an agonising study of how in modern times, aided and abetted by the media, lives can be ruined at a childish whim. When you are young, horrors are usually fantastical; as you get older you begin to understand that real horror lies in the ordinary and the mundane. Oates's contes cruel (look it up!) are for readers who like to think, who don't need an author to spell everything out for them. Great stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Not Corny 22 Feb. 2015
Many years ago, I stumbled across a Joyce Carol Oates story in a horror anthology. What I most remember about the story was how vividly the feelings the characters experienced were portrayed. Whilst the story itself was not exactly a horror story in the mould of Stephen King and James Herbert, it was very well presented. With this experience, I had high hopes of ''The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares'' a brand new collection of short stories from Joyce Carol Oates.

In this collection, the overall theme and feeling is one of loss. In ''The Corn Maiden'', single mother Leah Bantry has to deal with the loss of her eleven year old daughter Marissa, who is suddenly not there one day when she gets home from work and then the loss of her privacy when she reports the loss to the Police. In ''Beersheba'', Brad has a reunion with a long-lost step-daughter which doesn't go quite the way he had hoped. ''Nobody Knows My Name'' is about the loss of identity felt by a single child where there is a new sibling in the house.

Both ''Death Cup'' and ''Fossil Figures'' cover the relationships felt between twin brothers and their effect on each other's lives, whether together or apart. ''Helping Hands'' is the story of a recently widowed woman struggling to cope with the loss of her husband, whilst the book closes with ''A Hole in the Head'', where a plastic surgeon at risk of losing it all tries something he maybe should have left well alone.

There is nothing traditionally horrific here; there are no vampires and monsters creeping out of the woodwork and every turn. But what makes Oates' writing so nightmarish is the way she takes the ordinary and twists it ever so slightly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teenage angst and violence! 7 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Joyce Carol Oates never fails and this collection of stories will give you a new view of what can go on in some teenage minds. Plastic surgeons, birthday parties, kidnaps all contribute to the 'nightmare'.
You probably will not view your teenager in the same light again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Oates 22 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories, all quite dark and disturbing. One of the best books of hers I have read although I have liked many of her books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down.... 29 Dec. 2012
By Sam
Format:Kindle Edition
Great short stories, just right for bedtime reading but sometimes endings disappointing....was hoping for more. Will look for more books by same author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy 19 Jan. 2013
By mijo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read, enjoyed the plot, involving how innocence can be evil. Would certainly recommend it to others. Well done Jason.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rather dull actually 27 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This anthology of stories was a struggle to read. Instead of good prose, and well crafted characters, the writing was either far too convoluted to make sense or just clunky, with the annoying habit of running the same word together. Once or twice per story is okay, but it was tootoo much to taketake all the timetime! The characters were flat, amd not remarkable, not inciting any sympathy at all. They were also stereotypical. in the first story, 'the corn maiden' Marissa, the titular heroine is a blonde child, and the evil child, Jude, is redhaired, plain and, well, just bad. Although it was a story of the harrowing disappearance of a child, I found that I ended up not caring what happened to her in the end, I just wanted it to be over, it was so boring! There was no suspense, no reason to keep turning the page. The other stories took some reading as I was not eager to go back for more, and I was right! The characters were wooden, the plots mostly along the lines of bad things happen to good or even banal people. No kidding?! If there is a 'nightmare' in this little lot, it would be being made to read this ebook again!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark themes beautifully expressed and explored
Bold and unflinching writing. Dark themes beautifully expressed and explored.
Published 10 months ago by CSPike
5.0 out of 5 stars A creepy and unsettling read.
Loved this book, the title story, "The Corn Maiden" is a total page-turner and very unsettling. Joyce Carol Oates writes creepy and unsettling stories like no other.
Published 19 months ago by Doris Lessing
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
It was ok I have read much much better and has quite a lot of rude words which to me Is not real literature.
Published on 21 Aug. 2013 by G
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my sort of story
I really didn't like this at all, I found it sordid and unpleasant, and although Oates is a talented writer I was unable to engae in any way with this book.
Published on 10 May 2013 by Lois Sparshott
5.0 out of 5 stars A+++
Nice straight forwards, simple reading. A book thats a joy to pick up as the author shows yo the pictures
Published on 9 Mar. 2013 by Noura4eva
2.0 out of 5 stars strange
rather a strange story that is quite good to begin with then kinda loses the plot halfway through. A dissapointing read
Published on 17 Feb. 2013 by leymine
3.0 out of 5 stars Corn Maiden
Very strange book, interesting and enjoyable but let down at the end of each tale, so disappointed at the end
Published on 31 Jan. 2013 by Mrs J Phillips
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
Bought this because it looked interesting. The idea for the story was good, but the treatment seemed to be a little superficial and just skimmed over events.
Published on 22 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written
This is a well written volume of short stories but didn't really appeal to me all that much but you must bear in mind that choice of art and literature is very subjective.
Published on 17 Jan. 2013 by Yvonne Aston
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