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The corn maiden and other nightmares
Joyce Carol Oates
Adult Fiction OATES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The seven stories in this stellar collection from the prolific Oates (Give Me Your Heart) may prompt the reader to turn on all the lights or jump at imagined noises. In the excruciating title tale, a novella subtitled "A Love Story," an adolescent girl leads two of her friends in the kidnapping of 11-year old Marissa Bantry to enact the ritual sacrifice of the Corn Maiden as performed by the Onigara Indians. Children or childhood traumas play significant roles in "Beersheba," in which a man's past catches up to him, and "Nobody Knows My Name," in which the birth of a sibling turns nine-year-old Jessica's world upside down. Twins figure in both the eerie "Fossil-Figures" and the harrowing "Death-Cup" with its sly allusions to Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson." In "A Hole in the Head," a plastic surgeon succumbs to a patient's request for an unusual operation with unexpected results. This volume burnishes Oates's reputation as a master of psychological dread. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Oates's latest collection features six previously published stories and the debut of a new tale, "Helping Hands." The title novella revolves around the kidnapping of 11-year-old Marissa by her classmates. In chilling detail, Oates examines the mindset of not only Marissa's single mother, who was out late with a man, but also the kidnapping's mastermind, who is obsessed with the Indian legend of the Corn Maiden in which a young girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop, and the teacher who is implicated in Marissa's disappearance. Two stories, "The Death Cup" and "Fossil Figures," involve twin brothers and how their lives are inextricably linked. VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, 5/9/11.]-Kristen Stewart, Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., Pearland, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jude Trahern
Age: 13
Abducts a classmate to enact a human sacrifice.

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