Set largely in locations near the French Riviera, these eleven short stories depict the harsh realities of life for the less-privileged inhabitants of this very privileged region. Distinguished French writer J. M. G. Le Clezio lends his voice to the dispossessed and explores his familiar themes of alienation, immigration, poverty, violence, indifference, the loss of beauty, and the betrayal of innocence. In one story an adolescent girl encounters the violence of a gang of masked bikers in a hostile and desolate housing project. In others a man stands by helplessly as a place of great beauty and deep childhood memory is slowly consumed and destroyed by a quickly developing city, an illegal immigrant desperate for work finds himself the prisoner of a ring trafficking in human beings, and two girls risk everything by running away from home and their dead-end factory jobs in search of a more meaningful life. At once tragic and evocative, these engrossing and beautifully crafted stories touch upon the loss of human values in a rapidly changing world.