Short fiction from the author of The Fortunes and The Welsh Girl—“a writer to behold with real pleasure” (Gish Jen).
In tales that travel from Coventry to Kuala Lumpur, from the past to the present, and from hilarity to tragedy, American bandits herd ostriches in Patagonia, British soldiers confront Zulus in Natal, and John Wayne leads the way for local revolutionaries in Southeast Asia.
These are stories in which small lives are affected by consequential events. In “A Union,” a prolonged strike at a Welsh slate quarry plays mystifying tricks of time on a couple expecting a baby. In “The Silver Screen,” ragtag rebels join a communist revolution with all the flair of the Keystone Kops. In the heartbreaking title story, a rural community in North Wales copes with the accidental death of a child and learns the reaches of guilt. With its deep vein of humanism and pointed humor, this collection was a winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan Awards, and includes two entries that were selected for The Best American Short Stories.
“A quiet clarity and an all-encompassing empathy that is without borders.” —Elle
“Astounding . . . Peter Ho Davies has left a unique, definitive footprint in the soil of contemporary short fiction.” —The Washington Post