I am on the very edge of finishing Joyce Carol Oates’ collection The Corn Maiden, and would like to share two passages from the eponymous novella.
The first is just an example of great writing:
In a dreamlike suspension of emotion shutting the door behind her, switching on a light. Aware of herself as one might see oneself on a video monitor behaving with conspicuous normality though the circumstances have shifted, and are not normal.
A mother learns not to panic, not to betray weakness. Should a child be observing.
“Marissa? Aren’t you… are you home?
And then the following (because I like all quotes about books and reading):
Marissa was a reader now. Marissa brought books everywhere with her, to hide inside. These were storybooks with illustrations. She read slowly, sometimes pushing her finger beneath the words. She was fearful of encountering words she didn’t know, words she was supposed to know but did not know. Like a sudden fit of coughing. Like a spoon shoved into your mouth before you were ready. Mommy had said Marissa was safe now from the bad girls and from any bad people, Mommy would take care of her but Marissa knew from reading stories that this could not be so. You had only to turn the page, something would happen.
Buy the book. Turn the page. See what happens.