An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense. 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.
"The seven stories in this stellar collection from the prolific Oates... may prompt the reader to turn on all the lights or jump at imagined noises." - Publishers Weekly
"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." - Library Journal
"While the shadows of Poe and Hitchcock loom over these tales, it's clear that Oates herself is a master at creeping out her readers." - Kirkus Reviews
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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud
Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring
fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the
Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book
Award. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at
Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and
Letters since 1978. In 2003 she received the Common Wealth Award for
Distinguished Service in Literature and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary
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With Shuddering Fall (1964)
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Miracle Play (1974)
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