A woman, naked except for her high-heeled shoes, is seated in front of the window in an apartment she cannot afford, as her married lover rushes, amorously, murderously, to her door. An ageing, jealous wife crafts an unusual game of Russian roulette involving a pair of Wedgwood teacups, a strong Bengal brew, and a lethal concoction of medicine. Who will drink from the wrong cup, the wife or the dance student she believes to be her husband's latest conquest? A former Sunday School teacher's corpse turns up and the blighted adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder – but is he really responsible? In a fantastic ode to H.P. Lovecraft, a young outsider is haunted by apparitions at the very edge of the spectrum of visibility after the death of his tortured father. Revelling in the uncanny, this taut collection stands at the crossroads of sex, violence, and longing – challenging us to interrogate the intersection of these impulses within ourselves.
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over 70 books and the winner of a host of prizes including the National Book Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Oates is Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.
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