Today I’d like to share excerpts from a book that has been waiting rather impatiently for me to get to it: The Corn Maiden (and Other Nightmares), by Joyce Carol Oates, is a book I purchased three years ago! It is a collection of seven short stories, tales of suspense, “that will keep you riveted to the page.”
Intro: (From the story “The Corn Maiden: A Love Story”)
April: You Assholes!
Whywhy you’re asking here’s why her hair.
I mean her hair! I mean like I saw it in the sun it’s pale silky gold like corn tassels and in the sun sparks might catch. And her eyes that smiled at me sort of nervous and hopeful like she could not know (but who could know?) what is Jude’s wish. For I am Jude the obscure, I am the Master of Eyes. I am not to be judged by crude eyes like yours, assholes.
There was her mother. I saw them together. I saw the mother stoop to kiss her. That arrow entered my heart. I thought I will make you see me. I would not forgive.
Teaser: The Corn Maiden had never been to Jude’s house before. But Jude was friendly to her beginning back in March. Told us the Master of Eyes had granted her a wish on her birthday. And we were counted in that wish. (p. 4).
Blurb: “The Corn Maiden” is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Taken by an older girl from her school who has told two friends in her thrall of the Indian legend of the Corn Maiden, in which a girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop, Marissa is kept in a secluded basement and convinced that the world has ended. Marissa’s seemingly inevitable fate becomes ever more terrifying as the older girl relishes her power, giving the tale unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion. In “Helping Hands,” published here for the first time, a lonely woman meets a man in the unlikely clutter of a dingy charity shop and extends friendship. 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.
What do you think? I am definitely not sure about this collection, hence the long period of time I waited before picking it up to read. I have had a precarious relationship with this author’s works. When I love one of her books or collections, I am enthralled. When I do not connect with the stories or characters, I am sitting there going “huh?”
I don’t know which one this will be. Have any of you read this? Any thoughts?