A young Victorian wife and mother seeks freedom and self-respect; a would-be gardener has fun and games trying to outwit his animal adversaries; a young girl's life seems to parody a variety of fairy tales; an elephant finally has the chance to choose her fate; a young boy's miraculous escape haunts his later life; the increasingly bizarre history of a quick ticket to Heaven unfolds; an elderly man tries to soften the harsh realities of death; a group of diverse characters in a Newfoundland outport find themselves on a collision course; an author and her subject engage in a surreal struggle for dominance; the flip of a coin keeps on and on spinning tales.
These and other stories form an eclectic mix, drawn together by the concept of constraint – physical, psychological, social or emotional. The protagonists range from young to old, human, animal, and divine, in settings from England to outport Newfoundland, medieval Europe, a Scottish isle and the African savanna. Some are struggling to control themselves, their circumstances, or other characters, while others find themselves being manipulated, with or without their knowledge. Each story reveals the measure of success or failure achieved, but for many, death is the ultimate controller.