A Fair Maiden (Otto Penzler Books) by Joyce Carol Oates

By Joyce Carol Oates

Sixteen-year-old Katya Spivak is out for a stroll at the gracious streets of Bayhead Harbor along with her summer time babysitting fees while she s approached via silver-haired, dependent Marcus Kidder. at the beginning his curiosity in her turns out risk free, even friendly; like his identify, a kind of light comic story. His attractive domestic, the kids s books he s written, his classical track, the excellent paintings in his research, his lavish offers to her Mr. Kidder s lifestyles couldn t be extra assorted from Katya s drab working-class lifestyles again domestic in South Jersey, or extra engaging. yet via levels, nearly imperceptibly, whatever alterations, and posing for Mr. Kidder s new portray isn t the lighthearted pastime it as soon as was once. What does he actually need from her? and the way some distance will he visit get it?

In the culture of Oates s vintage tale "Where Are You Going, the place have you ever Been?" A reasonable Maiden is an unsettling, ambiguous story of wish and regulate.

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Example text

At least no one would cut her open, and the pain would be marginal and quick, or so her sister had told her. She moved over to the window seat, curling up against the bolted shutters. If Marcello showed up she’d ask him for food, which he’d probably refuse, but starvation had its own compensations. She was already so muzzy-headed she’d probably barely notice what they did to her. She had drifted off to sleep when the door opened and Alistair Rohan came in, heading purposefully toward the table.

You taste like roses,” he murmured. ” “Good,” she said in a strangled voice, as he slid his fingers into the curls between her legs. Of course he was going to touch her there—that was how it was done. But she knew she was wet, and she suddenly felt very shy. But he’d already slid his hand lower, and she felt his fingers lightly touching the most secret parts of her, and it was too late. “You’re wet,” he said, rubbing his face against her stomach. ” All right, she thought. Then maybe the wetness wasn’t a bad thing.

The eventual silence was so blessed she almost wept. Alistair Rohan. Why hadn’t she known him immediately? She’d never seen eyes that captivating color on anyone but her brother’s friend. She’d been fifteen, he’d been twenty, sent down from Oxford with her brother Jack for some prank involving chickens and the dean’s office, much to her father’s annoyance. She’d taken one look at him and fallen madly, desperately in love, as only a fifteen-year-old can love. Of course Rohan had barely noticed Jack’s gawky little sister, though he lightly flirted with her when they’d been thrown together.

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