Twenty-three stories selected from Dubus's eight preceding volumes (these going back as far as 1975 and Separate Flights). Dramatically uneven here as in his work overall, Dubus nevertheless remains a force that is muscular, determined, and passion-driven. Of The Times Are Never So Bad (1983), Kirkus wrote that ""for the most part, this is Dubus at his best--embracing his Catholic subject-matter more emphatically than before, emerging more clearly as a super-realist who operates not from the outside (like Ann Beattie) but from within the hearts of his un-cool, emotional people. In all: intense, credible, often very moving work."" And in 1986, of The Last Worthless Evening: ""What seems at work in these narratives is not so much a complex intelligence as a complex passion, or a stalwart, principled, and unflinching one; and, when that passion finds its natural subject, Dubus produces a fiction with a high, broadly embracing, and treasurably rare fullness of heart.