A Fair Maiden
By Joyce Carol Oates
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780547263359, 176pp.)
Publication Date: January 2011
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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 Kiddera 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 herMr. Kidder’s life contrasts starkly with Katya’s working-classand marginally criminalfamily 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.
JOYCE CAROL OATES is the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the winner of the National Book Award. Among her major works are We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls.
PRAISE FOR JOYCE CAROL OATES:"What keeps us coming back to Oates Country is her uncanny gift of making the page a window, with something on the other side that we'd swear was life itself."The New York Times Book Review "For 40 years, Joyce Carol Oates has maintained a creative dialogue with the roiling cauldron of contemporary American culture, writing unflinchingly about the oddities that bubble up into the headlines."Washington Post Book World