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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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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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 |
Oates' collection of short stories in The Corn Maiden are not traditional horror stories with blood, gore, and monsters, but rather unsettling tales that slowly build up tension. Of the seven stories in the collection, the strongest is The Corn Maiden, a tale of a group of teenage girls attempting an American Indian sacrifice on a classmate; other standouts include A Hole in the Head, about a bizarre medical procedure gone wrong, and Death-Cup - a story about twin brothers forever opposed.

The remaining stories are also good, and the collection as a whole serves as a good introduction to Oates' works, most of which are short stories. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
A collection of short stories focusing on the darker side of human nature, these are chilling in subject matter but oddly unengaging in execution. I found it difficult to care about any of the protagonists/antagonists, and the lack of a final resolution in many tales didn't help. Overall, I found these unsatisfying and something of a chore to read, in spite of great initial set-ups. ( )
  imyril | Nov 4, 2013 |
Well, what a writer. Pity about the subject. She sure knows how to write for the nightmare trade. The title story has a neat resolution and something akin to a happy ending, but after that, be prepared. I guess the subject matter wasn't really to my liking but I still admired her talent. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Mar 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (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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