Each of these twelve stories is a complete world, where ordinary lives are transformed, myths bloom into reality and the everyday is haunted by obsession and duplicity. A painter is made insufferable by success; a writer is driven to bury the evidence of his inadequacy. Metamorphosis fragments a marriage and beasts bear the consequences of human failings. Living creatures scratch out hauntings, rumours spread like fire. Fantastical beings are made flesh while mortals are engaged in a struggle that should be honourable but more often corrupts. Lyrical and macabre, Valerie Martin's stories are wry and unexpected too. The question 'Are we animals, or are we something else?' is answered by an ancient proposition both whimsical and disturbing: we are neither and both.