The large Victorian family dwindles rapidly; sliding into a mucky pond, carried away by protean birds, dragged into sarcophagi. The shrinking pool of survivors does not notice and is finally reduced to one observer who walks away on the back cover of the book. The entire book is the story; the covers are not simply reinterating something within but are part of the plot. It is somewhat of a triumph of design, although this must be frustrating for librarians. I return to my copy again and again, and try not to think about what bent edges of my psyche rejoice in this twisted tale.