Ten daring stories from the Booker Prize-shortlisted Philip Hensher. Backdrops vary in this collection of stories from the author of The Northern Clemency - from turmoil in Sudan following the death of a politician in a plane crash to Southern India, where a Soho hedonist starts to envisage the crump and soar of munitions. Each story, regardless of location, reveals a great writer at the peak of his powers.
In 1922, Christian, a young artist, travels to Weimar to begin his studies at the Bauhaus, where the avant-garde confronts conservative elements around it. With postwar Germany in turmoil, while the Bauhaus attempts to explore radical ways of thinking and living, Christian finds that love will change him forever. And in 1970s London Duncan uses his inheritance to establish the country's first gay bookshop in the face of opposition from the neighbours and victimisation by the police.
After the success of The Northern Clemency, which was short-listed for the 2008 Man Booker Prize, Philip Hensher brings us the peaceful civility and spiralling paranoia of the small English town of Handsmouth. Usually a quiet and undisturbed place, Handsmouth becomes the centre of national attention when an eight-year-old girl vanishes. The town fills with journalists and television crews, who latch onto the public's fearful suspicions that the missing girl was abducted.