Jean Thompson is a short-fiction writer of rare integrity and insight into the bruised lives of Americans, the emotional complexities of love, and the resiliency of the human spirit. The fifteen stories in this splendid collection-three never before published-illuminate real and imagined human needs and, in doing so, tell us something new about ourselves. A young woman has an epiphany, walking along the snow-drifted shoulder of a monotonous highway in the Midwest. The quiet rhythm of a suburban neighborhood is disrupted by peculiar activity at the local firehouse. A city cop on the graveyard shift internalizes the desperation of those he encounters night after night. And the formidable vastness of the Pacific Ocean humbles an urban junkie and his girlfriend in search of salvation. In precise and unsparing prose, Thompson dispels the comfort of taking life-and love-for granted, begging the very question of identity. Who are you? Who do you love?