A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates

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Synopsis

An Otto Penzler Book


Sixteen-year-old Katya Spivak is walking with her two summer babysitting charges in Bayhead Harbor, New Jersey, when she’s approached by silver-haired courtly Marcus Kidder—a local resident of some renown. At first his interest in Katya seems innocent, even as Katya’s interest in him seems precociously manipulative. His lovely oceanside home, the children’s books he has written, his classical music, and his lavish presents to her—Mr. Kidder’s life contrasts starkly with Katya’s working-class—and marginally criminal—family background. By almost imperceptible degrees, the relationship between Katya and the gentlemanly Marcus Kidder changes, and posing for him isn’t the romantic endeavor it had seemed. What does this mysterious rich man really want from Katya, who is young enough to be his granddaughter? And what will he risk to get it?


In the tradition of Oates’s classic novella Beasts, A Fair Maiden is an unsettling, ambiguous tale of mounting suspense and gradually unfolding horror.

 

About Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune 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. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers 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.
 
Published January 16, 2010 by Mariner Books. 176 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Fair Maiden

Kirkus Reviews

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This haven lies far from Vineland, the grimy inland hamlet where Katya’s broken and wasted family members are “scattered like sea creatures washed ashore in the wake of a terrible storm.” Marcus Kidder, an elegant, handsome older man, approaches Katya and politely courts her, gradually emphasizin...

Sep 15 2009 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

The Guardian

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I'm Marcus Kidder, long-term Bayhead resident, though it may turn out that the real Kidder is Joycie-Baby for churning out this quasi-feminist Lolita crap."

Dec 28 2009 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

The Guardian

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Joyce Carol Oates is almost as famous for her productivity – 56 novels in 46 years – as for her books, but publishing two novels in the same month is prolific even by her standards.

Jan 29 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

The Guardian

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By page 142 Katya is feeling differently: "Dirty old man, what right d'you have…what right, damn you, hate you."

Jan 16 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

The Guardian

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By page 142 Katya is feeling differently: "Dirty old man, what right d'you have…what right, damn you, hate you."

Jan 17 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

Publishers Weekly

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Sixteen-year-old Katya Spivak and elderly Marcus Kidder share a bizarre romance in Oates’s derivative and unpolished new novel.

Apr 06 2009 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

AV Club

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Joyce Carol Oates is back with another tale of a troubled teen romance, but this one lacks a sense of what teenagers are actually like.

Jan 28 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

The Telegraph

Not since the heyday of Dickens and Balzac can a literary novelist have been as prolific as Joyce Carol Oates.

Jan 09 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

The Bookbag

Summary: This is a delicious and dark story which illustrates how - and to what degree - opposites attract.

Nov 29 2012 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

Helium

... Joyce Carol Oates, celebrated American literary figure and author of best-sellers such as Blonde and We Were the Mulvaneys, weaves a dark, ...

Feb 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

AUTHOR WEBSITE: Joyce Carol Oates EXTRAS: Excerpt MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read reviews of more Joyce Carol Oates books: Give Me Your Heart Sourland: Stories The Little Bird of Heaven The Falls I’ll Take You There The Female of the Species

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

Bookmarks Magazine

His beautiful home, the children’s books he’s written, his classical music, the marvelous art in his study, his lavish presents to her — Mr. Kidder’s life couldn’t be more different from Katya’s drab working-class existence back home in South Jersey, or more enticing.

Jan 11 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

BookBrowse

A Fair Maiden: Summary and reviews of A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates. ... In the tradition of Oates's classic story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, .... Members read and review books often months before they're published.

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The Skinny

Book Review. Book title: A Fair Maiden; Author: Joyce Carol Oates ... 3/5 stars. Book review by Richard Strachan. Published 24 February 2010. Katya Spivak is a ...

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Islington Tribute

Relying on her own unique mix of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Angela Carter and Patricia Highsmith, A Fair Maiden tells in 231 sparsely honed pages how silvery-haired dilettante and creepy-crawly monster Marcus Kidder in his late sixties gets touch-deprived/ under-cherished 16-year-old Katya Spirak to ...

Nov 04 2010 | Read Full Review of A Fair Maiden

Reader Rating for A Fair Maiden
64%

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