Book 20 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from February 08 - 13
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates
Summary (via the book jacket)
Step into the vivid imagination of Joyce Carol Oates for seven tales of suspense that will keep you riveted to the page.
In "The Corn Maiden", you'll meet sweet and naive Marissa Bantry, an eleven-year-old with hair the color of corn silk, who vanishes from her mother's house one dark evening. As her mother, Leah, and the police frantically scour the town for her whereabouts, little do they know that Marissa has come under the influences of her fellow student Judah, a troubled young girl who relishes the opportunity to physically and emotionally hold Marissa captive. Judah teaches Marissa the story of the Corn Maiden, an urban legend in which a young girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop. As all leads begin to hit dead ends, Marissa's life hangs in the balance as Judah prepares to reenact the horrifying legend with the unsuspecting young girl as the sacrificial maiden.
In addition to the terrifying title story, Oates offers six other tales of the night, including the never-before-published "Helping Hands", in which a shy woman meets a man whose friendship and illicit desires may break down her defenses, until she realizes that there are some doors that should never be open.
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the greatest writers of our time, and once you begin these suspenseful tales you'll be at the mercy of a supremely gifted storyteller who refuses to let you go until the last page is turned.
This probably sums up my feelings about the book. A friend saw I was reading it and said, "I didn't know Joyce Carol Oates writes thrillers". My answer..."she doesn't".
The stories just skimmed the surface, jumping right into the action without much thought to the storyline or plot. The stories usually only had 2-3 characters and since they're labelled as thrillers, I knew there would be at least one victim and at least one aggressor; with not many options, it took a lot of the suspense out of it.
Creepy, sure. Thrilling, nope.
A Few Quotes from the Book
Quote from the Story The Corn Maiden: "Jude said you can't believe the magic you possess until somebody instructs how to unleash it".
Quote from the Story Helping Hands: "She dreaded the terrible intimacy of grief. She was a wounded creature preferring to crawl away, to nurse her pain, and not to share it with others".