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Extended Audio Sample Mudwoman, by Joyce Carol Oates Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (965 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joyce Carol Oates Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A riveting novel that explores the high price of success in the life of one woman—the first female president of a lauded ivy league institution—and her hold upon her self-identity in the face of personal and professional demons, from Joyce Carol Oates, author of the New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Story

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, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, 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 an Ivy League university. Her 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, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. 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 a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There’s a freshness to this novel, a sense of some new, more personal beginning. It’s bold of Joyce Carol Oates to paint achievement akin to her own as just the flip side of victimization—and it’s perhaps even bolder to make such visceral drama from the story of a workaholic who finally confronts life unhooked from a keyboard.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Like a low tune that’s been haunting her for years, [Mudwoman] now blares out in all its full gruesome melodramatic power.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Compelling…visceral as nightmares, and harrowingly potent…Mudwoman possesses the power of myth and fable, while offering the thrills and chills of macabre noir and grisly psychological horror: classic Oates.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “One of her most personal, autobiographical and deeply felt novels.”

    Washington Post

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Maureen Pettengill | 1/22/2014

    " the last 1/3 was good. I would not recommend this however. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Stacy Schumacher | 1/14/2014

    " Listened as an audiobook and it was difficult to keep track of the storyline. There may be an improvement being able to see the written page. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Cynthia | 1/7/2014

    " Gripping read. Sad and a little crazy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Cheryl | 1/2/2014

    " Excellent! Best JCO I've read in a long time!!! Ms. Oates has a way of getting into a person's head, grabbing hold and taking off on a wild ride. M.R.s break with reality and denial of what brought her to that point was remarkably well written. Loved this book! "

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