In these fourteen brilliant stories, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending examines longing and loss, friendship and love, the historical past and contemporary life--all with his trademark wit and sharply observant eye. A newly divorced man invades his reticent girlfriend's privacy, only to discover that the information he finds reveals his own callously shallow curiosity. A couple comes together through an illicit cigarette and a song shared over the din of a Chinese restaurant. A widower revisiting the Scottish island he treasured with his wife learns how difficult it is to overcome grief. And scattered throughout, a group of friends gather regularly at dinner parties, perfecting the art of cerebral, sometimes bawdy banter. Each story in this extraordinary collection pulses with the resonance, spark, and poignant humor for which Barnes is justly heralded.