In sixteen ferocious short stories, French author Luc Lang encapsulates the brutality of everyday life. Each tale is an admixture of tragedy, comedy, ridicule, and pain. Compassion lurks somewhere, perhaps, but pity is conspicuous by its absence. Lang's curt, agitated prose disassembles daily life with a swift, unflinching hand and examines it with a sharp, analytic eye. Skinning quotidian moments to bare, raw impulses, confusions, and the agonies underneath, the stories in Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor show the mundane grind of the everyday forces that are fueled by cruel calculation and amoral happenstance and shot through with bizarre surprise. The results are at once coldly comic and powerfully tragic. Interpreting human interactions as a series of precise jabs and desperate flailings, Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor tells truths about the darker sides of our potential and our well-meaning urges dimmed by chance. Luc Lang is an award-winning French author of many works, including Voyage sur la ligne d'horizon; Furies; and Les Indiens. He has also published the startling autobiographical work 11 septembre mon amour. He teaches aesthetics at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris et Cergy. Donald Nicholson-Smith has translated noir or noirish fiction by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Thierry Jonquet, and, with Alyson Waters, Yasmina Khadra's Cousin K (Nebraska, 2013). Born in Manchester, England, he is a longtime resident of New York City.