A girl with a crippling pea-phobia, a woman driven to murderous rage in an Anger Management Workshop, a wife torn between her dashing artist-lover and her uptight accountant-husband these are some of the characters in Wendy Perriams fifth short-story collection. Whatever the scenario, Perriam is alive to the raw emotion and underlying drama in even the most limited of lives, combining the daily dilemmas of personal relationships with a deeper exploration of psychological complexities. Many of the stories focus on some triumph or trauma of the human heart. Thirteen-year-old Kirsty is heartbroken on account of her father leaving home; Lynn eats her heart out over the mysterious Indonesians she has invited in off the street; stolid, suburban Ian undergoes a heart-transplant that not only saves his life, but changes his whole life and personality. And not forgetting Brian, the freckled, sandy-haired credit controller who, on his first-ever trip abroad, loses his heart to sultry Fiorella in Sorrento. Haunting and humorous by turns, this new collection depicts a world where happiness and heartache lie perilously close.

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