The stories in this enthralling collection find those moments - and places - when life seems to do an about-face. The revelations of intimidating old friends on holiday, an accident on a dark country road, a lottery win and a lesson in the real nature of luck, the sudden arrival of American parachutists in a country town . . . here people are jolted into seeing themselves and their lives from a fresh and often disconcerting perspective. Ranging around the world from a remote Pacific island to the tourist haunts of Greece and written with great emotional insight, extraordinary invention and wry humour, each of these stories is as rich and rewarding as literature can be.