'Nicholas Shakespeare's collected stories take us across oceans and continents into the intimate lives of his characters and the dilemmas and temptations they face. The opening novella, ‘Oddfellows', tells the little-known history of horrifying events that occurred on 1 January 1915 in the Australian outback town of Broken Hill, where, on the citizens' annual picnic outing, the only enemy attack to occur on Australian soil during the First World War took them by surprise.
'The other stories range through India, Africa, Argentina and Canada, and include a magnificent tale of civic folly which sees an unreliable young councillor from the Bolivian mining town of Oruro lose himself in the seductions of Paris while trying to commission a bronze statue of his local hero. All of them showcase Shakespeare's talent for insight and drama, and his fascination with connection and disconnection and cultural misunderstanding. ' (Publication summary)