This collections contains some brilliant pieces. There are a few throwaway fillers, but then that probably reflects Duncan McLean's lack of preciousness about writing. Generally, the writing is superb, homing in on the smallest everyday details and capturing them in simple yet perfect language. It's all about finding the extraordinary in the prosaic, and letting the poetry of the everyday speak for itself. No metaphor, or literary tricks. Most of the stories in this collection and others I've found are very rewarding. The short story is definitely his forte, I think. His novels, Blackden and Bunker Man, seem to get lost along the way, and much of the precision and compactness seems to go. The short stories are brilliant though, with a commitment to the Maclean's own place(s) and tongue(s).