A clutch of short stories and one longer (circa ninety pages) novella from the author of A House for Mr. Biswas and, most recently, The Mimic Men. Mr. Naipaul's settings: Trinidad and London, his characters, a melange of individuals, encompassing Cockneys, Caribbean natives, Hindus gone Christian. There are devastations, the revelation of character in The Christmas Story. However, Mr. Naipaul's gift for irony is comic in The Night Watchman's Occurrence Book, Greenie and Yellow, The Perfect Tenants. The title story, a film idea, features the return of an American salesman to the island on which he had been stationed as a serviceman ("It was we who brought the tropics to the island"). In an alcoholic haze, he meets his former mistress, his friend and neighbor. All have become successful, but the old island charm is gone. The promise of a hurricane momentarily restores them, then they recede to the world as it is. While complete, the novella remains essentially the basis for a more extended work, the book a supplementary expression of Mr. Naipaul's distinctive outlook.