The narrators of these stories are observant, sane--they speak in voices that could be our own. But something is off-kilter in the situations they describe. For example, in "The Housesitter," an academic's facility for adopting the habits of others and blending effortlessly with his environment leads to a Kafkaesque transformation and a total loss of personal identity. One of the most disturbing stories is "The Sound," in which a couple embarks on an "odd holiday" to cure their ailing marriage. They stay at a resort, pretending to be brother and sister and having secret trysts. The woman becomes obsessed with a phenomenon that draws the attention of the other hotel guests on most mornings. She sees them from her window, looking at the lake and gesturing toward the water, but try as she might, she can never quite catch the event in progress and learn what it is that attracts them. Nor can anybody tell her what they have seen; they seem not to know what she is talking about. She and her husband hire a local who promises to show "it" to them, but find that they have been misled. Ultimately, the only kind of reality in these stories is psychological. They are powerful and absorbing, unsettling and slightly surreal.