A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
In these nine virtuoso stories, Helen Simpson turns her wickedly wry wit to the stations of life, the vulnerabilities of age, and the lives of ordinary people in complicated times. The title story follows two old friends as they ride the London Underground to Cockfosters--the end of the line--to retrieve a pair of newly prescribed bifocals. "Erewhon" depicts a reversal of gender roles as a man lies awake in bed fretting about his body shape, his dissatisfaction with sex, his children, and his role in his marriage. And in "Berlin," a fiftysomething couple embarks on a "Ring Cycle
package" trip to Germany, recalling the ups and downs of their life together as they make their way through Wagner's epic. Funny, warmhearted, and deeply insightful, these tales brilliantly balance devastation and optimism as only Helen Simpson can.