Macabre, hilarious, desperate, heartwarming, Mark Richard's collection is stunning in its stark juxtaposition of a gamut of emotions and moods. The prose is sparse, and all the more evocative because of it. The world Richard depicts is itself sparse - his characters take their comfort where they can. It is a world of immense cruelty and immensely harsh beauty. There is pain in this washed out, painted over landscape of mudflats, fairgrounds and burning shacks, but also a piercing redemptive vision. As I read I found the first story superlative, then the next, then the next, right to the end. Books may not change your life, but this one may well leave its images searing your imagination for a long time. When I consider the lack of attention Mark Richard has received for his fiction, I'm tempted to believe there's no justice in the world at all, but then I realise that for such a gem of a book to exist at all is a kind of secret miracle. Witness it while you can.