Ten short stories set in Australia in the 1950s about the Melling sisters (All in the Blue Unclouded Weather, 1992; Dresses of Red and Gold, 1993) during a period of transition: They and their mother have moved, and they must adjust to different houses and schools, and to their father's absence. The structure of each story is pretty much the same: A small difficulty experienced by either Vivienne, Cathy, Heather, or Grace is overcome or resolved in a surprising way. The dramas revolve around minutely detailed disappointments and triumphs: the suffering associated with buying secondhand clothes instead of the yearned-for fancy school uniform, or the wish to take part in a play without looking as if it matters. Klein's command of the language is masterful and her prose exquisite; welded out of poetically intricate descriptions, it displays a sprawling vocabulary and an overflowing arsenal of metaphors and images that convey precise impressions and moods. At some points it becomes laboriously dense, as when the descriptions veer more and more towards clothes and hair, but when the plot is inspired, there are passages that are almost sublime.