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A sensational short story collection from Britain’s master of the genre.Charting tantrums, funerals, pregnancy and love affairs, these stories unroll with piercing wit and compassion. One woman finds grief for her lost lover is assuaged when she invests in a new front door. Another grows increasingly frustrated as the grim reaper scythes through her circle, with farcical and tragic results. Elsewhere, a chain-smoker’s brush with death appears to help him reassess his priorities, a south London builder avenges the duping of his adored mother, and a phlebotomist’s relationship is pushed to it limits by her preoccupation with war. And in the title story, a teacher’s circular walk on Hampstead Heath leads to revelations about mourning, ageing, and new life.’A masterful contemporary exponent of the genre. Simpson now deserves to be compared with Flannery O’Connor and Alice Munro’ Robert McCrum, Observer

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