Reviews

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

erikbergstrom's review

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dark mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

jimhart3000's review against another edition

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dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

jadeeby's review against another edition

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2.0

Originally posted at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

As an English major, I read "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates so many times that I almost have it memorized. It also happens to be one of my favorite short stories. That's why I was so excited to get this book of short stories and try it out. Sadly...it will not be replacing any of her other stories as my favorite.

The Good: Joyce Carol Oates is a mastermind of language. There is no doubt that she knows how to craft a beautiful sentence. Reading such beautifully crafted sentences was the joyful part of reading these stories. I wish she could write my life story so it would sound as lovely as this creepy novel! The good thing about this book of short stories is how fast it goes. I think I read it in a matter of hours. I'm glad, because I despise having to spend hours on books of short stories... it just doesn't jive with the whole meaning of "short" stories :)


The Bad: These stories were just plain creepy. And not that I'm opposed to that...on the contrary, I LOVE scary/creepy stories but this was just too weird... I was more baffled, confused and out of sorts while reading this than I was scared or intrigued. The premise sounded so eerie and great but maybe there was a high rhetoric element to Oates writing in this novel that just went above my head.

Overall, I'm really just ambivalent about this novel. It put me in a strange mood where I didn't love it...but it's not exactly a horrible book either. I guess it's just...there. So take that for what it's worth and read at your own risk. I'd give it a middle of the road C.

**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

jayykitty's review against another edition

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4.0

Can't stop thinking about The Corn Maiden story. I didn't quite understand two of the other stories, but overall, this was a nice collection. I will definitely be reading more stories by Joyce Carol Oates.

theduchess93's review against another edition

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2.0

This was my first time reading Joyce Carol Oates and probably the last, if this is anything to go by. Each story seemed to have some kind of gimmick in the writing that distracted from any kind of character or plot development, and just served to make me feel completely detached and uninterested in whatever was happening. DNF'd about halfway through.

mellabella's review against another edition

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2.0

I love Joyce Carol Oates. I have read may of her books. I am used to her writing style. That being said I didn't love this book. The stories were just OK and not at all scary (in the traditional sense) or "spine tingling" or whatever it promised.

cowgorl's review against another edition

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challenging dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

The corn maiden 4.75/5
Beersheba 2.75/5
Nobody knows my name 4/5
Fossil-Figures 5/5
Death-Cup 3/5
Helping Hands 3.5/5
A Hole in the Head 4.5/5

Average: 3.92…

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lckrgr's review against another edition

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1.0

I listened to this as an audio book and honestly only finished it out of sheer stubbornness. I remember in high school picking up Oates' Zombie. Naturally I was traumatized. I figured I was older and maybe her "nightmares" were less nightmarish or at least better than I remembered. I was wrong. I just can't get into Oates' horror and grotesque stuff. It is indeed grotesque.

But seriously, I wonder, what is Oates' obsession with trepenation?

Also a complaint about this audio book, I really did not like the readers. The guy pronounced a lot of things wrong and that annoyed me. But what can you do.

So I've learned my lesson, no more non-novel Oates' for me.

lilcoop71's review against another edition

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3.0

Creepy and dark!

emjay24's review against another edition

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1.0

I saw this on my library's new book shelf.. picked it up and started reading at home. For one, I can't read this writing style. It doesn't flow at all, it's like walking through heavy, tall snow. For a second thing, i think the whole thing is just too disturbing. Not for me, I'm returning it.