This wonderful author is incapable of writing a less than perfect sentence so we can forgive any shortcomings in the plot or the sometimes brutal detachment she has for her characters. Told from several points of view, it explores the mystery of why a young woman called Abby steps out in front of traffic the day after her wedding. As she lies in hospital recovering, Abby’s devoted new husband Willem attempts to discover whether she deliberately tried to end her life. The reader knows she has suddenly become haunted again by a terrifying childhood dream of skeletons and skulls dancing on grass and that her past is more than troubled. Oates manages the tension and the profoundly eerie atmosphere with precision and economy. But it is the prose that lifts the spirit with its poetry.