In nine richly varied stories, written in intense, clear-eyed prose, the reader is led into an exploration of the human need for connection, however tenuous or absurd, and at whatever cost. The stories operate with heartbreaking precision, drawing us past the surface of characters’ lives and into the moments of decision and recognition that shape these people irrevocably.rnrnHere are stories striking in the range of their shifting tone and the reach of their subjects. We are introduced to a support group for people who suspect their benign nature has caused benign tumours to grow inside them. The title story zeroes in on a girl with Fred Hoyle syndrome whose age expands and contracts like the universe. A recently widowed woman talks to her husband’s ashes, which are entombed in a hollowed-out curling stone. A store detective’s valiant act to save a pair of pink calfskin gloves is entwined with the unfortunate results of an unsuccessful space mission.