In 'The Thirty-first of October', Claudia's family is long-departed and her talents as a writer fading; she has gradually come to cocoon herself within her chilly cottage. Her misanthropy grows with every unpleasant encounter with her petty neighbours and their ungrateful and cruel daughters, who regard Claudia as a fairytale witch. But just as Claudia reaches breaking point and begins to descend into a dark mess of jagged thoughts, we witness the redemptive power of even the smallest act of kindness.
In 'Angelo', Violet Greene glances around the room at the funeral of her first husband - celebrated poet, Felix - and can't help noticing many a familiar face from a previous colourful life: fellow novelists, poets and publishers as well as an array of Felix's former lovers and wives. Consumed by memories of the past, Violet blocks out the gawping, gossiping congregation by fondly and sadly reminiscing about their time together.
Part of the Storycuts series, these two stories were previously published in the collection The Atmospheric Railway.