This book includes a number of stories that date back 30 years or more--and edited by Australian novelist Bail, it's clearly intended as a sampler for a foreign audience. With the notable exception of Tim Winton and Gerard Windsor, most of the leading short-story writers of post-WW II Australia are included. Yet there are really only a handful of first-rate stories: Christina Stead's ""My Friend, Lafe Tilly,"" Hal Porter's ""Gretel,"" Patrick White's ""Clay,"" Fay Zwicky's ""Hostages,"" and ""Fires on the Beach"" by Barry Hill. And there are a few too many pieces about yuppies succumbing to subtropical torpor and drinking their lives away. A better overview of Australian short fiction is provided by The Penguin Book of Australian Short Stories, edited by Harry Heseltine. it offers many of the same authors, along with capsule biographies and an introduction that is much more informative than Bail's.