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In the title story, a white aspiring professor is convinced she is being followed. No need to panic - she has a handgun stowed away in her purse, just in case. But when she turns to confront her black male shadow, the situation isn't what she expects. In "The Rescuer" a promising graduate student detours to inner-city Trenton, New Jersey, to save her brother from a downward spiral. But she soon finds out there may be more to his world than to hers. And in "The Last Man of Letters" the world-renowned author X embarks on a final grand tour of Europe. He has money, fame, but not a whole lot of manners. A little thing like etiquette couldn't bring a man like X down, could it?

In these and five other biting and beautiful pieces, Oates confronts, one by one, the demons within us, demonstrating that sometimes, it's not the human side that wins out.


  • "The Home at Craigmillnar", read by Ray Chase
  • "High", read by Donna Postel
  • "Toad-Baby", read by Luci Christian
  • "Demon", read by Chris Patton
  • "Lorelei", read by Tamara Marston
  • "The Rescuer", read by Julia Whelan
  • "The Last Man of Letters", read by Ray Chase
  • "High Crime Area", read by Julia Whelan
©2014 Original material, The Ontario Review, Inc. Recorded by arrangement with John Hawkins and Associates, Inc. (P)2014 HighBridge Company

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Profile Image for Matthew S. Hill
  • Matthew S. Hill
  • 18-03-17

Dark, Disturbing, Thought provoking.

Some of the stories in this collection I enjoyed immensely.
I felt that they were the types of stories you may hear if you interviewed a large group of people one on one and asked the question "what is one of the worst situations you ever had to deal with either physically or emotionally?"
Some of the narrators slightly plotted on, but when they went faster I felt like I was getting a bit lost. So I guess there's a method to their madness.
This was my first Joyce Carol Oates and I can't wait to read more.

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