The twelve stories in Indelible Acts are variations on a theme of longing - the unassuagable human need for contact, for completion, for that most fugitive gift of all: reciprocal love. Its characters' lives are thwarted, dashed, impassioned, each in their own way immolated by hope. A queue outside a cheese shop leads to a thrilling infidelity; a crematorium funeral exposes a love gone sour; a foreign hotel room becomes a diorama of despair as physical sickness becomes a metaphor for incurable grief. In the title story, two lovers confront their lusts amid the ruins of Rome; in 'A Bad Son' a young boy from a damaged home searches for some kind of peace in the newly fallen snow. Each story in this mesmeric new collection is an epiphany, a revelation: eloquent, excoriating - saved from bleakness by humanity and humour - unflinching and unwavering in its scrutiny of desite and loss. Justly celebrated as one of the most original young writers at work today, A.L. Kennedy writes stories of such intimacy, such aching honesty, that they are impossible to forget.