This collection of short stories is full of self-abusing outcasts thrown together in foreign countries. Tsiolkas confronts the reader with human nature at its most bestial: drug addiction, violence, graphic sex and racism. But there are too many silly provocations here, shocking only in their lack of nuance and clunky dialogue. It is a round-the-world trip, however, so at least readers can improve their geography. Australia is the setting for two of the better stories. Civil War is about a hitchhiker "on a journey across the desert in search of some intimation of spirit" and shows that Tsiolkas can write good fluid prose. Disco At The End Of Communism concerns Saverio, an Italian who finds out his anarchist brother, Leo, has died. Saverio reluctantly revisits Leo’s old commune in northern Australian where his brother’s friends have gathered for the funeral. He has to reconcile his anger and grief in a political atmosphere at odds with his own beliefs.