As the publisher's weekly (or somebody) wrote, fierce, wry, start, beautiful stories. This was my first foray into Ms. McHugh's writing, but I promise, it won't be my last. This book is a collection of several stories, unrelated to each other other than that many (but not all) have some kind of calamity as a theme. I read short stories fairly often and rarely have I encountered an author who can bring the kind of narrative balance and depth to a story without the endless pastures and fields of a full length novel. She creates little worlds, believable and complete, like ships in a bottle, and after completion, corks each world up and places it on it's shelf next to the others. Highly recommended!