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Extended Audio Sample Mudwoman Audiobook, by Joyce Carol Oates Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00103519668737 out of 53.00103519668737 out of 53.00103519668737 out of 53.00103519668737 out of 53.00103519668737 out of 5 3.00 (966 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joyce Carol Oates Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9780062115539
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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 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 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 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 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 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! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy C Curry | 12/28/2013

    " MUDWOMAN was an interesting story of self-exploration. The main character, M R Neukirchen is the president of a university who is struggling with exhaustion leading to a break-down. Woven into the story is M R's connection to her tragic past. I liked the book although I found some of the university relationships and conversations a little tedious. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathleen | 12/28/2013

    " "For aloneness is the great fecundity of the mind, if it is not the destruction of the mind." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 12/20/2013

    " Very introspective yet observant, and deeply personal as I find most of Oates' works to be. An interesting study of a woman who's collapsing in on herself and the other people who lead her to it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/7/2013

    " Disturbing...hard to read...I only stuck with it because I had already invested so much time in reading it and was hoping to find something that resonated with me. I became optimistic towards the end, but no, it was not to be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/2/2013

    " Very first book I read entirely on my iPad, which I really enjoyed. As for the book, I was disappointed in the ending. Liked the writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 11/23/2013

    " I picked this book because it dealt with childhood trauma, and as a social worker in that field, I was interested in her take on the subject. I was mesmerized by the characters, and my thoughts about early childhood abandonment were validated. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leslie Thompson | 11/23/2013

    " Sorry, Joyce, but I had to put this one down. The way you captured the muddy shores, the doll-toss, the rise from almost-dead was brilliant. To bring us back to the university life, the need to be liked, the poor choices made by a potentially strong woman was a disappointing path to take. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paulette Ponte | 11/13/2013

    " I admit that I am a huge fan of JCO. This book absolutely did not dissappoint. I was on the edge of my seat a great deal and although JCO's style of writing can be daunting, I think it's part of what I love about her books. Great story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 7/24/2013

    " Her latest and my current favorite of hers. Loved it! As I witnessed this woman's life unfold, I got caught up in her thoughts, which played tricks on both of us. During the climax I was wide-eyed & whispering, WTF?!?! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Woan | 7/12/2013

    " Beautifully written, draws you in, and each time I picked it up, I struggled to put it down. Would have given it 5 SARS but feel the book lost its way abit towards the end. Must read some more of her books! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Colleen | 3/25/2013

    " every chapter left me hanging and wanting more. not in the good-kind-of-suspense-way. more along the lines of "REALLY... that's how you left it, huh?". "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terry | 1/11/2013

    " Hated the ending. Nothing was resolved. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erna | 1/5/2013

    " This was not the kind of book I read for entertainment. Very poderous and slow to develop. I am surprised that so many people found it engrossing. I was not prepared to finish the book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorraine | 11/4/2012

    " Beginning was confusing; I wasn't sure if the university president WAS Mudwoman. She is the typical Oates protagonist. I liked it, but not one of my top Oates novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Curran | 9/25/2012

    " Amazing, brilliant but as usual very disturbing. I usually like 50% of Joyce's novels but these 50% have me wondering as to how one person can be so intelligent and imaginative! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laura | 9/6/2012

    " I just did not like story line at all eventually only reading the parts about the past. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Martha | 7/25/2012

    " why can i never finish a JCO????? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paula | 4/8/2012

    " Boring. Rambling. Could not identify with or feel sympathy toward this character. Too bad, I usually like this author very much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda J | 4/4/2012

    " Ugh. I wish I could like Joyce Carol Oates, but I just don't get her or her writing. I feel like a I am carrying a great burden when I am reading her novels and the addition of an unsatisfactory ending makes for an uncomfortable journey. "

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About the Author
Author Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and the New York Times bestsellers The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger, and The Gravedigger’s Daughter. 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 Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award.

About the Narrator

Susan Ericksen is an actor and voice-over artist. She has been awarded twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award. As an actor and director, she has worked in theaters throughout the country.