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A riveting novel that explores the high price of success in the life of one woman—the first female president of a lauded ivy league institution—and her hold upon her self-identity in the face of personal and professional demons, from Joyce Carol Oates, author of the New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Story

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. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.

Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.

A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen 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 an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.


  • 001_Mudwoman

    Duration: 29min
  • 002_mudwoman's journey a

    Duration: 01h03min
  • 003_mudwoman's journey b

    Duration: 01h01min
  • 004_mudwoman saved

    Duration: 36min
  • 005_mudwoman confronts a

    Duration: 55min
  • 006_mudwoman confronts b

    Duration: 01h08min
  • 007_mudwoman confronts c

    Duration: 01h17min
  • 008_mudwoman renamed

    Duration: 10min
  • 009_mudwoman fallen

    Duration: 01h07min
  • 010_mudgirl in foster care

    Duration: 32min
  • 011_Mudwoman makes a promise

    Duration: 01h09min
  • 012_Mudgirl has a new home

    Duration: 01h13min
  • 013_Mudwoman mated

    Duration: 33min
  • 014_Mudgirl cherished

    Duration: 11min
  • 015_Mudwoman bereft

    Duration: 03min
  • 016_Mudgirl desired

    Duration: 42min
  • 017_Mudwoman challenged

    Duration: 35min
  • 018_Mudgirl betrayal

    Duration: 55min
  • 019_Mudwoman in extremis

    Duration: 01h08min
  • 020_Mudwoman ex officio

    Duration: 06min
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