This is a collection of eleven short stories whose common theme is the heroism of our flawed lives. It explores the arduousness of people’s lives and covers such diverse subjects as human solidarity, generational change, single parenthood, domestic violence, the tragic complexity of revolution, police brutality, artistic hubris, and the limitations of rationalism.
In “The Hat”, a polish Jew on the run in Eastern Europe goes down to a town in search for food and, noticing the large number of German soldiers on patrol, hides himself in a funeral procession. But he stands out as the only mourner without a hat. As he walks along, another man places his hat on the fugitive’s head: an example of man’s humanity to man.
In “Living with the Polish Count”, the young Soviet Republic struggles to keep foreign and reactionary forces at bay and in so doing loses the morality that initially inspired them.
In “The Selfish Geneticist”, lunch in a smart restaurant exposes the rift between two academics, both dogmatic and contemptuous of others, but one more strictly rational and the other more influenced by his human emotions.