'The stories in this enthralling collection find those moments - and places - when life seems to do an about-face. The revelations of intimidating old friends on holiday, an accident on a dark country road, a lottery win and a lesson in the real nature of luck, the sudden arrival of American parachutists in a country town . . . here people are jolted into seeing themselves and their lives from a fresh and often disconcerting perspective.
'Ranging around the world from a remote Pacific island to the tourist haunts of Greece and written with great emotional insight, extraordinary invention and wry humour, each of these stories is as rich and rewarding as literature can be.' (Publication summary)
'In the magnificent opening story, "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam - and what seems at first a satire on turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. "Cartagena" provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In "Meeting Elise" an ageing New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.' (From the author's website.)
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