A London boarding-house becomes a battle ground in this "dazzling display of character-led fiction" from the award-winning author of The Old Boys (The Independent). William Wagner Bird spent his life collecting lost souls—dispossessed immigrants, lonely old ladies, and the simply half-mad—to live in his London boarding-house. But when he dies, the true intent of his work is revealed in his diary. Bird had been watching them all closely, keeping notes on their sad and peculiar circumstances. And then there's the matter of his will, in which he leaves the house to the two tenants who most despise each other, the petty thief Mr. Studdy and the equally nasty Nurse Clock. In this "rhapsody to misanthropy" Whitbread Award winner William Trevor paints a fascinating group portrait of society's outcasts, each of whom sees their small life unravel "in a manner somewhere between Dubliners and Grimm's fairy tales" (The New York Times).