These 15 stories meet existence head-on through detached narration that has the quality of a feverish dream. The chilling psyche tells a story where there seems to be no story. Even the victim remains dispassionate and lets the reader infer causes and measure threats. In unvarnished, linear prose stripped of sentimentality, Goodman casts the shape of inarticulate emotion. Yet at the heart of her stories about the foolish, the indifferent, and the vicious, between painful connections and violations, there is regenerating laughter or an inexpressible trace of something once whole and beautiful. Beneath Goodman's every absence, there is a compelling, disturbing presence.