Loneliness and regret are the main ingredients of these short stories. The characters struggle to come to terms with failure and the fact that life never turned out as they expected. There is a sense of alienation and defeat - not sadness, just resignation. The descriptions and atmospheres of the urban locations are very well conveyed. Smokers (and ex-smokers) will feel empathy with these characters! Winner of the London Book Award 2011.
Jean walked through the lounge, opened the patio doors, and sat down on the folding plastic chair. She lit a cigarette and inhaled as much of the smoke as her lungs could take. She did this every night and often wondered whether she could die that way: asphyxiated by too much smoke taken too quickly into her lungs