The singular pleasures of Mathews's (Cigarettes, 1987, etc.) title are in fact only one pleasure, and that one is the--well, the pleasure of masturbation. Here are sixty-odd (publisher's count) tiny pieces, one or two almost a page long, most only a paragraph or just a few lines, describing various people--well, doing it. Those various people are very various, from kids to old fogies, of all sexes, nations, places, needs, and callings, some alone, some with like-minded company. Some of the vignettes are silly, some exotic, some satiric, some erotic, most poetic, some neutral, and some--a few--touchingly lovely. The point seems to be--well, let that be determined by those who choose to ponder it. The illustrations by Francesco Clemente aren't lubricous at all, but (usually) slight, charming, and as ephemeral as a--well, as, say, a falling leaf.