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The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares 

Author: Joyce Carol Oates
 Mysterious Press
Year: 2011
Length: 464 pages

Other Editions

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares


Publisher's Blurb

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 legend of the Corn Maiden, in which a girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop, Marissa is kept in a secluded basement and convinced that the world has ended. Marissa’s seemingly inevitable fate becomes ever more terrifying as the older girl relishes her power, giving the tale unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion. In “Helping Hands,” published here for the first time, a lonely woman meets a man in the unlikely clutter of a dingy charity shop and extends friendship. She has no idea what kinds of doors she may be opening. The powerful stories in this extraordinary collection further enhance Joyce Carol Oates’s standing as one of the world’s greatest writers of suspense.


  • The Corn Maiden
  • Beersheba
  • Nobody Knows My Name
  • Fossil-Figures
  • Death-Cup
  • Helping Hands
  • A Hole in the Head


Why why you're asking here's why her hair.

I mean her hair! I mean like I saw it in the sun it's pale silky gold like corn tassels and in the sun sparks might catch. And her eyes that smiled at me sort of nervous and hopeful like she could not know (but who could know?) what is Jude's with. For I am Jude the Obscure, I am the Master of Eyes. I am not to be judged by crude eyes like yours, assholes.


  • Bram Stoker Award, 2011 winner: Superior Achievement in a Collection
  • 2011 Shirley Jackson Award, finalist
  • World Fantasy Awards, 2011 short story winner: "Fossil-Figures"

 There was her mother. I saw them together. I saw the mother stoop to kiss her. That arrow entered my heart. I thought I will make you see me. I would not forgive.

Okay then. More specific. Some kind of report you assholes will type. Maybe there's a space for the medical examiner's verdict cause of death.

Assholes don't have a clue do you. If you did you'd know it is futile to type up reports as if such will grant you truth or even "facts."

Whywhy in the night at my computer clickclickclicking through galaxies and there was revealed on my birthday (March 11) the Master of Eyes granting me my wish that is why. All that you wish will be made manifest in Time. If you are Master.

Jude the Obscure he named me. In cyberspace we were twinned.


  • Publishers Weekly, September 12, 2011, p. 57
  • Donna Seaman, Booklist, October 1, 2011, p. 1034
  • Kristen Stewart, Library Journal, October 15, 2011, p. 71