With the unflinching candour and sympathy for which Joyce Carol Oates is celebrated, the 14 stories of "Dear Husband", examine the intimate lives of contemporary: the tangled ties between generations, the desperation - and the covert, radiant happiness - of loving more than one is loved in return. A passionate bond between an adolescent son and mother has unexpected consequences. A woman is forced to realise, decades later, her childhood role in the destruction of a famous, beloved grandfather's life. A man tries to break free of the enthralling and dangerous erotic obsession of his life. In the gripping title story, Oates boldly reimagines the true-crime story of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her children in 2001. Several stories take a less tragic turn, exploring with mordant humour the shadowy interstices between self-awareness and delusion. Dramatic, intensely rendered, and always provocative, "Dear Husband", provides an unsettling and fascinating look into the mysterious heart of America.