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A riveting novel that explores the high price of success in the life of one woman—the first female president of a lauded ivy league institution—and her hold upon her self-identity in the face of personal and professional demons, from Joyce Carol Oates, author of the New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Story
Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate—or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.
Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.
A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.
There is too much emphasis on the main protagonist and little mystery.
To a point, I appreciate her way of presenting the dark interior life of someone as a jumble of memories and perceptions that are not clearly "real" or "not real".
Depressing, confusing, and no real ending..very disappointed in this book..this author has and could do better.
True excellence. A book with this level of depth can be challenging and fascinating provided some actual thinking is not repugnant to the reader.Published 2 days ago by Irayna W.
Became rather tedious, sometimes difficult to follow in spite of beautifully structured prose. This is not an "easy read" although JCO is always entertaining.Published 8 days ago by Carol Rodhouse
I was greatly disappointed. I have enjoyed may Oates' books but I did not enjoy this. It seemed to me disjointed, weird, and at times using high-blown language unnecessarily. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mimi
having written so many volumes over the decades, developing a personal style with recurring themes, and not repeating oneself, for an author as prolific as oates, is close to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Case Quarter
Not a happy story but so well written I couldn't put it down 5 stars!Published 2 months ago by kay layman
2 Stars -- I did NOT like it -- definitely not my preferred read -- I regret I bought it. Now -- having said all that, I DID finish the book, with never one thought of not doing... Read morePublished 5 months ago by G6gxp