Published by: Grove/Atlantic
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Overview:"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 trusting Marissa happily went to a secluded basement with the older girls, pleased to be included, and is convinced that the world has ended and that they are the last survivors. Remaining an unaware hostage for days, she grows weaker on a sparse diet as Judah prepares her for sacrifice.The seemingly inevitable fate of Marissa becomes ever more terrifying as Judah relishes her power, leading to unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion.
|Joyce Carol Oates|
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.
|Classic Joyce Carol Oates|
It's difficult to imagine the psychological stealth and horror that can come from the pen of a brainy artist such as Ms Oates; but, then again, that's the joy of reading her work. She has that bent toward the gothic and the gruesome as shown in her former work pictured below. She is gifted in this genre as well as her other areas of choice. Some of her best writing is culled from her short stories.
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, folks... And did you know that Timothy McVey grew up not far from where Ms Oates did?
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. Just keep a lamp on...
5 moonstruck stars