These stories are written in what might be called the deliberately unambitious style of contemporary realism. What is original in them is their structure: they work like fables, though they have a novel’s pacing. They are set in London, Wollongong, Moscow, Sydney, Azabu, on the Atlantic coast of Spain, in Hong Kong, in Kyushu, in Oxford, in a small town near Mount Kosciuskco; even on Mars – and, like fables, they are set nowhere. The characters pay strikingly little attention to place; they speak to each other in much the same way in Wollongong and on Mars. There is rain to be seen, but it is soundless, it has no scent; it does not touch the skin. In these stories, the fable’s clarified settings – a well, a tree, a trap – find their equivalents in the settings of the global city: rooms – bars and restaurants and cafes – and people talking.