David Malouf’s imagination inhabits shocking violence, quick humor, appealing warmth and harsh cruelty with equal intensity. He shares tales of bookish boys, taciturn men and intimate stories of men and women looking for something they seem to have missed, or missed out on. This is a comprehensive compilation of David’s shorter work. Stories are set in the stark and challenging Australian interior and the more lush and mysterious coastal enclaves; others are set in Australia's past. The youthful dreams, physical desires and mental despair of Malouf's richly varied characters as they explore their place in the world are always moving and universal. Readers won't want to skim a single page of the 31 stories in this epic collection, a few of which are novella length. Together, they represent a quarter-century of a formidable craftsman's career.