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Mudwoman: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 20, 2012
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“Uniquely personal… an intriguing departure from token Oates tales.” (Huffington Post )
“Madness and malevolence squirm on almost every page in Joyce Carol Oates’ 38th novel… Oates’ dark brilliance is ever evident in her main characters, complex souls with mysterious corners in their psyches…” (Minneapolis Star Tribune )
“This chilling novel opens with a child left to die in a silty riverbed, a memory that no amount of later life success can erase.” (O, the Oprah Magazine )
“…The Oates style, with its fractious barrage of dashes, suggests what [Emily] Dickenson might have produced if she had written doorstop novels instead of short poems…[Oates] is especially perceptive in showing the political tightrope that M.R. has to walk in her powerful but fragile position at the university…” (Wall Street Journal )
“[A] disturbing, psychological thriller.” (New York Post )
“Extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant... Masterfully enmeshing nightmare with reality, Oates has created a resolute, incisive, and galvanizing drama about our deep connection to place, the persistence of the past, and the battles of a resilient soul under siege… A major, controversy-ready novel from high-profile, protean Oates.” (Booklist (starred review) )
“Oates [displays] the insights into human bonds that make her brilliant....Oates makes [her character’s] torment come alive. We grasp her compulsion to return to the mud of the past in order find her true self.” (USA Today )
“[A] disturbing exploration of selfhood…As always, Joyce Carol Oates masterfully evokes a sense of menace, if not malevolence, while drawing her readers deep into the psychology of her characters… a dark, intelligent and deeply compelling novel... which will hold you in its thrall until the end.” (Washington Independent Review of Books )
“There’s a freshness to this novel, a sense of some new, more personal beginning. It’s bold... to paint achievement... as just the flip side of victimization--and it’s perhaps even bolder to make such visceral drama from the story of a workaholic who finally confronts life unhooked from a keyboard.” (New York Times Book Review )
“Oates is an extremely visceral writer…Mudwoman is a genuinely unsettling book in which Oates pays her readers the compliment of never letting them settle or even being entirely sure about what they have just read.” (Financial Times )
“Mudwoman is very good at the performance of the public life of the woman president…The unraveling of this performance is grippingly horrible.” (New York Review of Books )
“Joyce Carol Oates’ latest novel is about many things, but first and foremost it is about the complications of being a high-achieving woman in the 21st century…Oates tells [her protagonist’s story] with a detail and relish that’s both heartbreaking and fascinating.” (Ms. magazine )
From the Back Cover
A riveting novel that explores the high price of successin the life of one woman, and her hold upon her self-identityin the face of personal and professional demons,from Joyce Carol Oates, author of the New York Timesbestseller A Widow's Story.
Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flatsof the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives byan accident of fate—or destiny. Meredith "M.R." Neukirchenis the first woman president of an Ivy League university, butshe is confronted with challenges to her leadership which testher in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealismand intelligence that delivered her from a more conventionallife in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undoher. A reckless trip upstate will thrust M.R. into an unexpectedpsychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes shehas left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claimsof the past, Mudwoman explores the tension between childhoodand adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the "public" and"private" in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The heroine survivor-woman of our story is known during her adult years as M.R. [Meredith Ruth] Neukirchen of Carthage, NY in the Adirondack Mountains. She is adopted by a very loving Quaker couple, Agatha and Konrad Neukirchen and given the birthday of 9-21-61, which is also important to the story. She was abandoned by her birth mother Marit Kraeck a very psychotic woman of extremely humble background. Marit tries to kill the child by throwing her in a mudflat, where she is found by a mentally challenged man lead there by a big black bird known as THE KING OF THE CROWS for the rest of the story. As a child she was called either Jedina or Jewell [the discovery of how that is reconciled is part of the story so I won't spoil it]. She gets the not-so-kind nickname Mudwoman, as an adult, and was called Mudgirl, while a child, due to the method of her abandonment.
Another facet of this story is that you are not always sure when an event important to the story really happened or was merely a psychotic episode imagined by our heroine, which included but are not limited to several amorous encounters.Read more ›
When she is three, Jedina Kraek's mother decides to murder her and her five-year-old sister. Jedina is shaved bald as part of her mother's religious delusions and tossed into a mud flat near the Black Snake River where her mother assumes that she will drown in the muck. Against all odds, the little girl is found by a mentally handicapped local trapper and taken into a foster family for several years. When the Neukirchens, a childless Quaker couple, adopt her, Jedina (who had mistakenly claimed her older sister's name, Jewel) becomes Meredith Ruth Neukirchen.
"Merry" does her best to live up to the Quaker standards of her parents, and becomes the model student, an overachiever who compensates for her insecurities by excelling at academics. Secretly, Meredith applies for, and wins, the scholarship to Cornell that she believes will be her ticket to a new life far from stifling Carthage, New York.
Mudwoman is told in chapters that alternate between Meredith's girlhood and her present life as the first female president of a prestigious Ivy League university. Now 41, and calling herself M.R.Read more ›
So, for example, I was personally put off—strongly put off—by occasional references thoughout this novel to 9/11, the “war on terror,” Bush and Cheney, etc. Most often, when I felt inclined to put this novel aside, unfinished, it was because of such references.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wll written engaging novel about an abused child who becomes very successful, but because of her demons cannot really continue to function as responsible adult. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Dr. Rosalind Jacobs
2 days of my life I will never get back. Boring, rambling, not sure what the point of this dark book is. Sorry, I really enjoyed it in the beginning. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gailsmith
It was hard to tell what was a "dream" and what wasn't at times. It was a large book--I kept having the thought that it should be about half as long, but I kept reading... Read morePublished 5 months ago by MARY
hard to read;i skimmed a lot of it. especially all the politics . IT WAS HARD TO TELL WHAT WAS REALLYHAPPENING AND WHAT WAS HALLUCINATION . Read morePublished 6 months ago by beryl e cost
Although a little difficult to get in to; once you catch the flow of the writing it is a very fine read. I would recommend it.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 11 months ago by Jehanne C.
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 11 months 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 13 months ago by Mimi