The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  808 ratings  ·  167 reviews
An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in "The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares" Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense. "The Corn Maiden" is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Taken by an older girl from her school who has told two friends in her thrall of the Indian...more
Hardcover, 365 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,744)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
David
Oct 22, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: disturbed girls hot for teacher, rich ladies who want to be trepanned, people who have a bad twin
Good golly, Ms. Oates can write!

I have noticed lately that reading and reviewing has become a "hobby" in itself, and I often am already thinking about what I'm going to say about a book even before I finish it. And somehow, this has trended me away from reading short stories, since it's harder to review a collection of short stories than a novel. Well, also because I guess I just generally prefer novels over short stories. But there is so much short fiction out there of excellent quality, even i...more
H R Koelling
These weren't scary stories in the traditional sense of what I was expecting, but they were psychologically frightening. I can't say I remember reading an entire JCO book before, although I studied some of her short stories in college. This book was really really good. Again, I am biased because several of the stories take place in New York State, including upstate and the Adirondacks. I love reading about all the little towns New York has, and which I've driven through or visited when I lived i...more
rameau
First of all, if you don't like nightmares and don't want to be scared and repulsed by the horrors ordinary people do, don't read this. Since I'm one of the slightly skewed people who enjoy reading about the darker side of the human nature, I actually enjoyed the book and most of the short stories within.

I got lost in the pain and desperation Marissa's mother felt when she found her daughter missing and her world unravelling under the scrutiny of the authorities and the public. I felt the confu...more
Jason Rolfe
It would be understating the obvious to call Joyce Carol Oates a gifted writer. Her short stories have defined and refined the form, while many place her amongst the best American novelists of the past century. Her works range from mainstream literary, to mystery, to Gothic in the truest, perhaps purest, sense of the word. Her writing is rife with emotion, her characters capturing the very essence of humanness in the wonder and the humour, the horror and the disquiet they convey. With The Corn M...more
Maureen Lang
Although Ms. Oates is an accomplished, evocative writer - and there were lines that inspired awe of her ability - there were several reasons I couldn't give this book more than two (or two and a half) stars. The first challenge came in the opening of the novella, the first of several nightmarish stories in this collection. For several pages, I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on. It was largely a point of view problem, coupled with what I can only assume was the intentional...more
Shane Malcolm
My year of Oates continues with this 2011 collection of psychologically chilling tales, including one novella and six short stories. While only the opening title story is overtly horrifying, all of them are unsettling, and there is not a single dud in the batch. The weakest link if I had to pick would be "Nobody Knows My Name," for the simple fact of its obviousness; still, though, it is elevated by the strength of Oates's writing. "Fossil Figures" is downright startling in its mix of pathos and...more
Erin
I found this to be jumpy and poorly written. Glad it was a library book!
Lisa Rathbun
I'm not sure how to rate this. The stories are compelling and well-written, but their content is chilling and dark and sometimes the ending is too vague. I prefer a clear and obvious denouement. **POSSIBLE SPOILERS** "Helping Hands" pulled you into Helene's world, disturbingly and inexorably, because she behaves like she's in a trance, compelled to a horrible ending which she should have foreseen but seemed powerless to avoid. You feel like you're inside her head which made the ending disappoint...more
Cosmo
I picked up this volume on a whim and fell in love. It's been years, well to be honest, decades since I first read Joyce Carol Oates' stories. They were assigned in college, as I recall, and perhaps for that reason, I didn't click with them. I was aware that her interests had become more gothic, more horrific over the years. Similarly, I realized in my middle age that it was OK to read beyond the prim and proper confines of literary fiction, that my soul was not in danger if I strayed toward mor...more
David Stephens
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares is a collection of seven short stories that range from revenge thrillers to murderous sibling rivalries. Some of the tales don't stray too far from well worn horror plots, but, as is usually the case, Oates often elevates even these standard structures to a new level of creativity with her rich characters. She has an incredible ability to weave through their inner feelings and private thoughts with such clarifying force that it not only makes the characters b...more
Serena!
*Recensione al vetriolo. (Era un po' che mancavano!)

APPUNTO alla me futura che compra libri: "Te la smetti Serena di arraffare libri senza farti prima un'idea di cosa stai comprando e soprattutto farti fregare ogni volta dagli specchietti delle allodole? Grazie,
il tuo portafoglio, il tuo buonsenso e il tuo lato critico".

In questo caso la cosa che mi ha fregato è stato il nome della Oates in primo piano: adoro come scrive questa donna e quindi con il super prezzo speciale di 5,90 (prezzo original...more
Tamora Pierce
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
Ok.....I love the way this lady writes but quite frankly, at times I wonder if she's nuts.

I.e., one of the stories was about a crazed teen girl luring her dead mother's ex into an abandoned churchyard/graveyard and then slicing his achilles' heel.

Leaving him to die.

What a sick mind! Really, ....there are times I need a break from her. After all, this is a woman who never had children and some of her stories are way way over the top.

Also, not in this particular series but another group of short...more
Chibineko
I'll admit outright that I'm not overly a fan of Oates' writing style, but dangit... she knows how to write. Even as I asked myself why I'm reading the stories since I wasn't really digging them, I couldn't help but admire how well she managed to keep me turning the pages despite that.

First off, I just have to repeat the statement that Joyce Carol Oates knows how to keep someone reading. I really didn't like the writing style that the first story was written in but I just had to keep reading pu...more
Barry Eysman
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares is very well written. As are the very well written reviews. Very. None of the stories are especially nightmarish or memorable, save one. I've read all of her work since college. I have championed her and been devoted to it. The last story Hole in the Head, is the nightmarish one because of the facts on trepanning. So if you're going in for brain surgery anytime, I recommend you read this first. And send a copy of it to everybody you know. And any kind of surg...more
Lydia Presley
Original review posted here

So this collection of short stories.. it packs a mean punch. I mean right out of the gate, Joyce Carol Oates slams her readers with a story about “innocent” young girls and the horrific acts they can commit. Seriously, people, I have goosebumps just thinking about the story and it’s been a few weeks since I read it.

One after another, each story hits where you least expect to be hit. From showing the darker side of charity, the immense pain of loneliness, the all-too-hu...more
Karen
I always enjoy JCO's short stories, much more than any of her novels I've read. The first story in this collection is a doozy, the kind that keeps you worrying all the way through. Not sure I was absolutely in love with the ending, but it did stick with me. Other stories have faded a bit from my memory since reading this is early December, but one about a plastic surgeon whose client strongarms him into an ill-advised (and illegal) procedure remains eerily in the forefront. Did I mention the sur...more
Vivienne
I am not usually a fan of short story collections, finding them a little hit and miss. Yet this collection, which contained non-supernatural horror tales, was superb from start to finish.

The Corn Maiden story was probably my favourite and the most chilling. Tales of toxic twins, lonely widows and an ambitious doctor made for a sense of continuity - each story embodied a nightmare situation - yet also difference.

I know I already love JCO's novels and this proved to me that rave reports about he...more
Pamela Scott
This collection only contains seven stories. The Corn Maiden is over 130 pages and I’d consider this to be a novella. The stories deal with familiar themes. They include the disturbing behaviour of a teenage psychopath, revenge, murder and jealousy that becomes an obsession. These themes have been tackled over and over again in fiction. Oates has tackled them herself most notably in her collections Heat & Other Stories, Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense and The Museum of Dr M...more
Tzu-mainn Chen
That was unpleasant! Not 'unpleasant' in the sense that this is a bad book, but. . . In most stories, characters move through the story in a series of ups and downs and ups and downs. With a few exceptions (and the exceptions feel curiously incidental), these characters go down and then down and then down some more.

+ beautiful writing, although i suspect that the light stream-of-consciousness may not be for everyone, as it requires a fair bit of concentration to read. i found it effective
+ compe...more
Alexandra
A collection of stories reflecting a dark, disturbed mindset, and sometimes too much emotional intimacy for this reader's comfort, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares is an unsettling read. From the title story's tale of a cruel, manipulative child's actions toward other children and adults to 'Fossil Figures' about a case of sibling rivalry that begins in the womb and ends somewhere inside a living hell to 'Helping Hands' wherein a grieving widow develops an unhealthy fascination with a wounde...more
Kristina
Read this really fast because it's a book of short stories. I read the first 3 and didn't like any of them. Her writing is SO irritating. The sentences are disjointed and repetitive and make it seem like a 5th grader is writing. The stories that are supposed to be scary are not my type of horror so I wasn't that impressed, they were more weird than anything, especially the cat one. I've heard good reviews of her writing but I don't think I'll be picking up anything else by her.
Donna
I've loved other books by the author, but this one didn't click with me.

I may be too jaded when it comes to horror, because I didn't find anything here especially shocking. The dreamlike, sometimes frantic voices of the protagonists caught me from time to time, but the similarities in theme and style made them blur together. I'd possibly have enjoyed any single story more if I'd come across it in a mixed-author anthology.
Rachel
Joyce Carol Oates came to a function in my home town when I was in high school, and I, being the nerd I was, went out and bought Foxfire and read it cover-to-cover to familiarize myself with JCO. The auditorium was full of kids who only had questions about "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" which all their teachers had made them read beforehand. Long story short, JCO did not make a really good impression on Young Rachel. She was very brusque, very old (to me, but I was 15), and seemed pr...more
Melissa
This is a horrible, horrible, horrible book. I wish somebody had told me that. DO NOT PICK UP THIS BOOK. It is like every nightmare you ever on paper. Believe the title. This isn't a creepy but enjoyable book like Stephen King's. This is an all around disturbing book with short stories about things you never want to think about.
Marisa Gonzalez
I like to read a scary book once in awhile. I saw this book of short stories and was intrigued by the cover which was kind of creepy. I gave up after the fourth story. There was absolutely nothing scary about any of them. If anything they were depressing. What a waste!
Dawn
Just awful! I have now given up on Joyce Carol Oates and I really did admire her past work. The stories were absolutely pointless with endings that were more like an end of a chapter rather than a story. A complete waste of time.
Julie
Read the first two stories and then skimmed the rest. I find it's really hit and miss for me with this author which I find highly disappointing...I want to like it all.
Lindsey
The first and the last stories are very strong, but the middle stories are not memorable. "Helping Hands" in particular was a slog, and the twin stories are ridiculous.
Claire Andersen
Broadly, the stories in this collection are tied together by themes of human cruelty--ranging from acts of shocking malevolence to the scars left by the selfishness and ignorance of others--and by the idea of "twinness." The characters in the stories relate to each other as twins, either biological or psychological, and the stories talk to each other by switching perspective between aggressor and victim in a sort of "good twin/evil twin" dynamic.

Given that the word "nightmare" is in the title, I...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 58 59 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Someday This Will Be Funny
  • The Lovecraft Anthology, Vol 1 (Eye Classics)
  • American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940's Until Now (Library of America #197)
  • Supernatural Noir
  • Errantry: Strange Stories
  • In the Mean Time
  • Women and Other Animals: Stories
  • The Angel on the Roof
  • Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China
  • Inishowen
  • McSweeney's #27
  • The Outlaw Album: Stories
  • The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories
  • Rory & Ita
  • The Night Class
  • Birchwood
  • The Best of Joe R. Lansdale
  • Comfort to the Enemy and Other Carl Webster Stories
3524
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Pseudonyms ... Rosamond Smith and Laure...more
More about Joyce Carol Oates...
We Were the Mulvaneys The Falls The Gravedigger's Daughter Blonde Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

Share This Book

“Only in love is there trust - even the possibility of trust.” 7 likes
“Our lives are Mobius strips, misery and wonder simultaneously. Our destinies are infinite, and infinitely recurring.” 1 likes
More quotes…