|Author:||Joyce Carol Oates|
A haunting new novel from one of America's most prolific and respected novelists. Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate - or destiny. After her rescue, she will slowly forget her own origin, her past erased, her future uncertain. The well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their Quaker values: compassion, modesty, and hard work - seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past. Meredith 'M.R.' Neukirchen is the first woman president of a prestigious Ivy League university whose commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward a declaration of war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her professional leadership which test her in ways she could not have expected. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her. A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, 'Mudwoman' is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of an individual who breaks - but finds a way to heal herself.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her books include We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. In 2003 she received the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award. Her recent work of non-fiction on grief and bereavement, A Widow's Story was a critically-acclaimed success.