Stretching from New York to Haiti to Paris to London, this deeply affecting story collection by National Book Award finalist Madison Smartt Bell takes readers on a crooked tour of many different psychological landscapes The 18 stories in this masterful collection are informed by Madison Smartt Bell's eye for revealing detail and empathy for his charactersmost of whom are outsiders in one way or another, sometimes obviously, sometimes not. All of the tales are influenced by music and Bell's abiding interest in the musicality of prose, and almost all take inspirationand their titlesfrom particular songs. The title story plays on a theme from the Captain Beefheart classic ';Zig-Zag Wanderer,' and both here and elsewhere Bell uses the musician's apparently anarchic methods of composition to coax a vision of order out of apparent chaos. Drawn from a wide spectrum of race, class, and nationality, Bell's characters are nomads seeking elusive comfort in the socially fractured situations through which they must navigate. With the guidance of their author, they do their best to find new harmonies in the noise that surrounds us all.