A. L. Barker's debut story collection appeared in 1947 and won the inaugural Somerset Maugham prize, instantly marking her out as a remarkable new talent. Each story describes a crisis in life; each reveals the impact of experience upon innocence, or vice versa. "[Barker's] remarkable descriptive powers, her feeling for the exact word and the right combination of adjectives are most satisfyingly applied to the evocation of landscape...Barker writes with a subtlety and precision which are as delightful as they are rare." (Times Literary Supplement). "This collection of eight short stories...introduces an already assured and subtle stylist...There is little pity here, but - if restrained - considerable terror and tragedy, and a precision of observation and treatment which qualify this collection for a critical, fastidious audience." (Kirkus Reviews).