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The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares:…

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Novellas and Stories of Unspeakable… (2011)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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While these stories were interesting, I must read too much horror because I didn't find them particularly horrific. All of the stories ended weirdly abruptly, and the title story in particular had some really annoying little elements that prevented me from enjoying the story (like the triple repetition of words that made me cringe every time) plus the ending was weird and tonally completely different from the rest of the story. The obsession with twins was a bit weird too, especially since both stories had very similar relationship dynamics, it felt like I was reading the same story.
In short, don't think this writer is for me, but some of the concepts were very interesting ( )
  WhatUsername | Oct 20, 2016 |
Wow! I could not put this book down, finished in a span of 24 hours or so. Two stories were graphic enough, I truly thought I was either going to throw up or pass out. Not for the squeamish. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Jul 12, 2015 |
One of my 2015 reading goals has been to read short stories. I've read the minimalist stories of Raymond Carver and the complex, character-driven stories of Alice Munro. I was due for something dark and disturbing - thank you, Ms. Oates. Themes of malevolent children, evil twins and festering grudges run through the stories. I liked them all, but I particularly liked the title story about a girl who takes bullying to extremes, and a story about a girl who is terribly jealous of her new baby sister. Nice stuff. ( )
  CasualFriday | Jul 10, 2015 |
These aren't my definition of horror [blood, gore, etc.] but they were certainly eerie and kept me turning pages. They presented the sinister side of humankind in seven stories, each a psychological study of personality types.

The Corn Maiden: novella of the kidnapping of a young girl with the intention of sacrificing her in a Native American ritual, with a twist at the end.
Beersheba: revenge of a young woman for past wrongs.
Nobody knows my name: a feral cat.
Fossil-figures: narcissistic brother ["the demon brother"] and his crippled twin.
Death-Cup: vengeance against a successful, manipulative brother.
Helping hands: a crippled veteran's illicit feelings for a grieving widow.
Hole in the head: a greedy plastic surgeon and how an operation goes tragically wrong. This was my favorite of the collection.
  janerawoof | Oct 25, 2014 |
For me, these seven short stories were good, sometimes quite creepy, but never approached any sort of a promised nightmare level. With fresh descriptions and images of the Boston Marathon bombing in my head, as well as my general state of mind, these seemed more like a tame, school board-loving young adult title. Nothing threatening.

The title story was a twisted story of a young girl (could she be the Corn Maiden?) kidnapped by some older girls from her school. The story has a wonderful twist in the end, but still more creepy than skin-crawling nightmare. The graphic descriptions of the procedures of a plastic surgeon in another story were closer to the "unsettling mark". Odd to think that I had considered going into medicine when I was younger — luckily that didn't happen — and I scrambled towards the vast wealth guaranteed in independent bookselling. My lack of repulsion with these stories could just be that "wrong-book-at-this-time sort of thing"...it happens. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Psychologically compelling and disturbing, this volume is a strong addition to Oates's vast body of work. Short story readers and Oates fans will enjoy it.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Kristen Stewart (Oct 15, 2011)
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to Jonathan Santlofer
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Whywhy you're asking here's why her hair.
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Please distinguish between this anthology, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Novellas and Stories of Unspeakable Dread, and Joyce Carol Oates' separate short story, "The Corn Maiden." Thank you.
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A collection of six stories and novellas includes the title story, in which the disappearance of a sweet blonde-haired child is linked to her mother's indiscretions and an older student with a fascination for a Native American legend.

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