(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Prowler” focuses on a divorced man named Dennis as he struggles with his emotional reactions to the unexpected return of his former wife to New Mexico and his growing separation from his thirteen-year-old son, Andy. The story opens with Dennis in a frustrating conversation with Christie, his former wife and mother of Andy. She has stopped by on a spur-of-the-moment visit and has asked to have Andy spend the summer with her and her new baby. Christie has spent the last year in Paris, France, but has suddenly returned to the United States, leaving the father of her young daughter behind.

Dennis does not want to let his son go with the boy’s mother. While in Europe, she has called Andy rarely, even letting a month go between calls. He does not trust Christie; he sees her as flighty, as inconsistent. Dennis also worries about Andy. He is unsure of Andy’s smooth friend, Leo; Dennis imagines Leo getting Andy into trouble, perhaps drugs.

After Christie leaves, Dennis goes upstairs and talks with his current wife, Francesca. She is at the edge of sleep, having been sick, along with their twin infants. Dennis grouses about Christie’s irresponsibility, but Francesca tries to point out how unfair Dennis is toward his son Andy’s relationship with the boy’s mother. She does not defend Christie, but she does believe Andy needs to see his mother.

The next day, Dennis tells Andy that his mother has returned. Andy had noticed that something was wrong with his father and...

(The entire section is 615 words.)