This is our second Book Club visit to the spectacular Ida Claire. This sort of place is the reason people leave the house and pay high prices for food. Kristen and Megan had the mountain-sized chicken and waffles, Natalie had the chicken salad sandwich, and I had the grilled shrimp on a bed of "ancient" grains. No complaints whatsoever!
On the technical side, a few of the stories suffer from a sense of incompleteness--they end abruptly before a true revelation of events. The technique perhaps works in my favorite story of the collection--"The Premonition"--but it was hard to tolerate in others. We also have 2 overtly derivative stories: "The White Cat" (after Poe's "The Black Cat") and "The Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly" (A retelling of Henry James' Turn of the Screw from the perspectives of the ghosts).
All in all, this one didn't thrill us--although Natalie, our horror aficionado, got exactly what she was expecting from Oates in this one.
Also, this recent NYTimes article by Judith Newman seems relevant: "Dear Book Club: It's You, Not Me"