A blazingly original, profoundly moving new work of fiction by a writer whose world--and imagination--knows no boundaries. "I don't know what planet Judy Budnitz comes from," saidNewsweekon the publication of her fiction debut,Flying Leap,"but I'm happy to have her. Tremendous . . . funny, dark, adventurous, slanted, and enchanted." These twelve astonishingly inventive stories--which take us into the heart of America and around the globe, from suburban backyards and swimming pools to war-torn streets and fallout shelters--are riveting, seductive, and impossible to forget. In "Flush," a mammogram prompts a dark comedy of blurred identities between a mother and her two adult daughters. In "Elephant and Boy," a surrogate mother-and-son bond, tinged with the erotic, is formed when a philanthropist attempts to "civilize" a young elephant handler. "Nadia" sounds the depths of a young woman's complex feelings toward a friend's mail-order bride from Eastern Europe. "Preparedness"--an Orwellian tale in Technicolor--imagines rapture in the wake of imminent apocalypse. And in "Where We Come From," a pregnant woman's many failed attempts to cross the border do not lessen her resolve to give birth on U.S. soil to a "nice big American baby." Magical, poignant, often transcendent, these are virtuoso modern fables that mine our stores of hidden urges, misunderstandings, and blind passions, inviting us on a voyage through places and times at once deeply familiar and wondrously strange.