A haunting new novel from Joyce Carol Oates.
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. Only when she is adopted by a Quaker family does she begin to suppress those painful memories.
Meredith `M. R.' Neukirchen is the first woman president of a prestigious Ivy League university whose commitment to her career and moral fervor are all-consuming. But with an emergent political crisis and a prolonged secret love affair, M. R. has to confront challenges to her professional leadership which test her in ways she could not have expected. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her hometown now threaten to undo her.
When she makes a trip upstate, M. R. Neukirchen is thrust 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 the heartbreaking portrait of an individual who breaks - but finds a way to heal herself.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof 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. Her books include 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. In 2003 she received the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award. Her recent work of non-fiction on grief and bereavement, A Widow's Story was a critically-acclaimed success.