A woman attends a de-cluttering class in search of love. A low-level, drunkard diplomat finds himself mysteriously transferred to the Consulate in San Francisco, where everyone believes he is a great, lost poet. An anthropological expedition searching for early human fossils goes disastrously wrong and the leader turns to searching for the very first sounds made by humans. The wife of a retiring Consul pays tribute to her pet python by preparing to serve him to her dinner guests. A strange skull discovered outside an orphanage results in the creation of a cult around one of the charismatic young residents.
Unsettling, moving, insightful, humorous — these beautifully written stories travel between despair and redemption as they illuminate the lives of often deeply flawed characters, and mark the emergence of a major new voice in American fiction.