Readers know that few authors are able to create an atmosphere of unease and terror as well as Oates, a fact confirmed by the four novellas presented here.
In the title story, “Evil Eye,” a young woman has recently become the fourth wife of a highly demanding man. When his first wife comes to stay with them, she warns the new bride that her husband is insane, and that she must find a way to protect herself. In “So Near Anytime Always,” a fateful meeting in a library leads to a boy's obsessive interest in a teenage girl. In “The Execution,” spoiled college student Bart Hansen has forgotten to factor in one person in his plan to commit the perfect, brutal crime: his mother. And in “The Flatbed,” a beautiful young woman struggles with frigidity until a shocking act releases her.
All the novellas in this collection revolve around the theme of love gone wrong—horribly, shockingly wrong.