It's incredible! Every time a new book of Ozick's is published, I give thanks to the Muses for having provided her the necessary inspiration. As usual, her sentences are gorgeous and lyrical; the characters are funny and utterly compelling.
"Dictation" is the only story contained that has not been previously published. It begins with the master Henry James and an emerging Joseph Conrad. Her characterizations of each man, as well as of Conrad's wife, are hilarious. Soon, however, the story shifts to the writers' amanuenses. For fear of ruining any of the story's surprises - there are many! - I will only say that the story may motivate you to go out and re-read, or read for the first time, certain stories by James and Conrad. (Though of course that may be a foolish enterprise, considering the story's "punch line.")
Familiar themes of morality and art are present, but Ozick explores them in a way I didn't expect.
I highly recommend this book to lovers of contemporary literature.