3.25 (2,698 ratings by Goodreads)

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"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

  • Paperback | 715 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 38.1mm | 725.74g
  • English
  • Large type / large print
  • Large type / large print edition
  • 0062107267
  • 9780062107268

Back cover copy

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.
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Review quote

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"
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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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