Two of the stories in this collection by John Howard have their setting in a certain west London suburb- the calm prospect of its small houses and tree-lined roads is deceptive. And throughout this selection of stories, whether in London or hperinflationary Berlin, Romania in the ferbile 1930s, or the austerity Britain of recent years, we encounter people who live on the peripheries pf their cities and societies- and at the edge of their own lives and illusions. They might think they know the rules, but it often turns out they do not after all. Or perhaps the rules changed- silently, abruptly. In these stories past and present come together with wounding consequences for those caught out by the system- or its absence.