A Fair Maiden : A dark novel of suspense, Paperback Book

A Fair Maiden : A dark novel of suspense Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Fifteen-year-old Katya Spivak is out for a walk on the streets of Bayhead Harbor, New Jersey, when she is approached by silver-haired, elegant Marcus Kidder.

At first his interest in her seems harmless. The world he inhabits acts as a tonic to her drab existence. And as a children's book writer, he seems to be a man she can trust.

His home is beautiful and he lavishes gifts on her. Everything about him is enticing - perhaps too enticing?

Like a moth to the light Katya agrees to pose for a painting.

But by degrees something changes. Being Mr Kidder's muse is not the easy endeavour it once was.

What does he really want from her? And how far will he go to get it? This spare, chilling novel shows Joyce Carol Oates at the height of her powers as a literary storyteller.




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Chilling, exciting, and extremely well written. Oates takes the reader into the story in medias res, and immediately introduces the main conflict in the novel, as represented by the relationship between 15-year old Katya and 68-year old Marcus Kidder. They have a chance meeting in the park in a coastal town on the shore of New Jersey, and strike up a friendship which soon grows into a sort of close bond. Their relationship is of an alien-like nature and contributes to the eerie feel of the novel. As their relationship continues to develop, I as reader get the feeling of being a witness to something unspeakable. Mr. Kidder obviously wants something from young Katya, but Oates carefully covers it up and reveals only small bits and peaces of his intentions as the narrative progresses. The narrative tension and suspense becomes almost unbearable to me as a reader, which is the brilliance of the novel. I was absolutely mesmerized by this book, and can't wait to read more of Oates's works.

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