In the titular novella, a Pennsylvania academic discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. In 'Miao Dao', 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 realizes she is pregnant and, distraught, allows a distinguished visiting professor to take her under his wing in 'Phantomwise: 1972'. And in 'The Surviving Child', a widower remarries, but his young wife is haunted by his dead wifes voice dancing in the wind.
In these psychologically daring, chillingly suspenseful pieces, Joyce Carol Oates writes about women facing threats past and present, and reminds us why she is so often praised as one of America's most significant contemporary writers.