Four brand-new novellas by the #1 New York Times-bestselling, National Book Award-winning “grand mistress of ghoulishness” (Publishers Weekly).
An academic in Pennsylvania discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. A pubescent girl, overcome with loneliness, befriends a feral cat that becomes her protector from the increasingly aggressive males that surround her. A brilliant but shy college sophomore is distraught to discover that she’s pregnant, and the professor who takes her under his wing may not have innocent intentions. And a woman who marries into a family shattered by tragedy finds herself haunted by her predecessor’s voice, an inexplicably befouled well, and a compulsive attraction to a garage that took two lives.
In these psychologically daring, chillingly suspenseful pieces, the author of We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde writes about women facing threats past and present, once again cementing her reputation for “great intelligence and dead-on imaginative powers” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
The four novellas in this spellbinding collection from Oates (Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars.) carefully tread the boundary between psychological and supernatural expressions of the macabre. In the title story, a sinister gothic confection, a young woman inherits a house from the grandmother she never knew, prompting her to explore the harrowing family history that led to her adoption as a toddler. "Phantomwise: 1972" evokes the work of Lewis Carroll in its account of a heroine, Alyce, enmeshed in a skewed reality. In "The Surviving Child," a new wife caring for her stepson is haunted by the palpable presence of the boy's mother, who killed both herself and her young daughter. Oates masterfully digs into the turbulent psyches of her characters and makes it ambiguous to the reader how much of the strange worlds they navigate are projections of their own anxieties and longings especially in "Miao Dao," about a teenage heroine who obsessively protects a feral cat. This superb outing is sure to captivate.