The Scent of Cinnamon and Other Stories
These prize-winning stories deal with life, love, loneliness, delusion, misunderstanding, death. An office worker wakes to find his body invaded by a mysterious parasite. A desperate woman seeks escape through fire. A girl who knows only the forest is taken to the city for the first time. A solitary young boy conjures a girl from leaves to replace his twin sister. In one story a governess is forced to come to terms with the truth of the family she has loved and served, and the world in which she lives. In another, a one-night stand with a sadist triggers a meditation on sexual pleasure and serial killers. Some characters look for work, for ways to change their lives, for somewhere new to live; others for someone to love or be loved by, or to hurt. Not everyone is good. Not everyone is honest with himself or herself. Not everyone gets what they want, or deserve. The stories’ settings range across time and space, from the colonial outback in the late nineteenth century to contemporary urban life in London and Rome and Paris, to both warring sides of the Second World War. The tone is comic, dry, satirical, vivid, magical, disturbing, poignant, spare. Not a word is wasted in these stories, which describe the world not only as it is and was, but also as it might be.