Mudwoman

Mudwoman

3.25 (2,698 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

"Oates is just a fearless writer...with her brave heart and her impossibly lush and dead-on imaginative powers."
--Los Angeles Times

"[An] extraordinarily intense, racking, and resonant novel."
--Booklist (starred review)

One of the most acclaimed writers in the world today, the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates follows up her searing, New York Times bestselling memoir, A Widow's Story, with an extraordinary new work of fiction. Mudwoman is a riveting psychological thriller, taut with dark suspense, that explores the high price of repression in the life of a respected university president teetering on the precipice of a nervous breakdown. Like Daphne DuMaurier's gothic masterwork, Rebecca, and the classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, Oates's Mudwoman is a chilling page-turner that hinges on the power of the imagination and the blurry lines between the real and the invented--and it stands tall among the author's most powerful and beloved works, including The Falls, The Gravedigger's Daughter, and We Were the Mulvaneys.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 428 pages
  • 162.56 x 231.14 x 43.18mm | 635.03g
  • Ecco Press
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0062095625
  • 9780062095626
  • 351,513

Review quote

..".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
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Back cover copy

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.
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Review Text

"[A] powerful novel...[Oates] deftly interweaves M.R.'s present, memories of her troubled childhood, and her feverish hallucinations...This hypnotic novel suggests that forgetting the past may be the heavy cost that success demands." The New Yorker
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Rating details

2,698 ratings
3.25 out of 5 stars
5 14% (377)
4 30% (818)
3 31% (841)
2 16% (429)
1 9% (233)
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