Rameau’s Review Archive: The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

Rameau’s ramblings: This was the first Joyce Carol Oates novel I ever read.

First posted on Goodreads November 6th 2011.

Marissa is a beautiful, sweet, but slow 11-year-old. Judah, an older girl from the same school, has led Marissa to a secluded basement. Remaining an unaware hostage for days, Marissa grows weak as Judah prepares to sacrifice her to the Indian legend, the Corn Maiden. 

The Corn Maiden and Other NightmaresThe Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

First of all, if you don’t like nightmares and don’t want to be scared and repulsed by the horrors ordinary people do, don’t read this. Since I’m one of the slightly skewed people who enjoy reading about the darker side of the human nature, I actually enjoyed the book and most of the short stories within.

I got lost in the pain and desperation Marissa’s mother felt when she found her daughter missing and her world unravelling under the scrutiny of the authorities and the public. I felt the confusion as the innocent teacher agreed to help the police only to find himself in the centre of a witch-hunt. And I even found a sliver of understanding and the pity for the kidnapper.

All this happened within the first short story and more was to come with the others thanks to Oates’ writing. She managed to keep me turning the pages even when I was annoyed with her choices both for the characters and the effective writing. Somehow Oates managed to make third limited past tense seem more immediate and gripping than most authors manage with first person present tense.

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares is an acquired taste, and since this is my first encounter with Joyce Carol Oates’ work, I can only assume the same goes for the rest of her work. It’s going to take a while for me to explore this theory further though.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

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8 Responses to Rameau’s Review Archive: The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

  1. Sounds nice…I know, I am horrible. Thoroughly weird and horrible.

  2. I love love love Joyce Carol Oates. I think her writing is scrumptious. I have often journaled favorite passages of hers. You should check out Heat. I look forward to reading this creepy tale! Thanks for clueing me into net galley, too. 🙂

  3. rameau says:

    This is why we should blog together. Wait…

  4. rameau says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I would like to read more of her work but I'll have to pick my moments. It's like eating a questionable treat: You want to but you're also a little bit scared to take the bite.I love NetGalley. Or I would love it more if I had any self-discipline. As it is I'm always overestimating my ability to read books in time. I hope you'll find many wonderful reads through the site.

  5. Bad company, nuff said. I think we are doomed ;p.

  6. Oh yeah! *licks her lips* creepy indeed!

  7. rameau says:

    You'll love it.

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