A new collection of storiesdazzling, poignant, wickedly funny, and highly addictiveby the internationally acclaimed writer whose work The Times (London) calls dangerously close to perfection. These thirteen stories brilliantly focus on aspects of contemporary living and unerringly capture a generation, a type, a social class, a pattern of behavior. They give us the small detail that reveals large secrets and summons up the inner stresses of our lives (It is a blissful relief to turn to the coolness and clarity of Helen Simpson . . . She is, to my mind, the best short story writer now working in English Ed Crooks, Financial Times).Whether her subject is single women or wives in stages of midlife-ery, marriage or motherhood, youth, young love, homework, or history, Simpson writes near to the bone and close to the heart.In one story, a squirrel trapped under a dustbin lid in the back garden vanishes, and a womans marriage is revealed in the process . . . In another, a young woman on her way for an MRI reflects on new love, electromagnetism, and Sherlock Holmes, and afterward goes to a museum and finds herself wanting to escape into one of the paintings.And in the title story, two men on a flight from London to Chicagoone an elderly scientist, the other a businessman upgraded to first classdiscuss climate change and what flying is doing to our shrunken planet, this while the in-flight entertainment shows the crop-duster scene from Hitchcocks North by Northwest. When a passenger in the seat across the aisle suddenly becomes ill and dies, the plane is forced to land in Goose Bay, Labrador, to the utter frustration of the two men. In the storys moment of reckoning, one of the men, furious at the delay, says to the other, I dont care about you. You dont care about me. We dont care about him [the deceased passenger]. We all know how to put ourselves first, and thats what makes the world go round.These darkly comic, brave, and, says The Guardian, deeply unsentimental stories brilliantly evoke lifes truest sensationslove, pain, joy, and griefand give us, with precision and complex economy, a shrewd and painfully true glimpse into our dizzying 3-D age.