‘Mudwoman’ by Joyce Carol Oates
Oates’s new novel is traumatic reading
If “Mudwoman’’ were a computer game, it would be up there with Mortal Kombat and Doom for its grotesque violence. Which is odd in a novel about a university president and her conflicts with her board. But of course it’s about more than that. This particular university president, when she was 3, was tossed into riverbed by and left for dead. By her mother. As “Mudwoman’’ begins, Meredith Neukirchen has spontaneously begun to relive that trauma, which threatens her sanity.