Paperbacks: Cheating at Canasta, by William Trevor

A heavy sense of inevitability permeates this collection of stories, by a master of the form at his reliable best. Elegantly and sparsely written, they nonetheless carry a weight of guilt, or shame, or just age, through homecomings, goings away and weary stayings put. The title story, set in Venice, describes how cheating at Canasta can be the tenderest act of all, as an old man honours a promise to a beloved wife who can't even remember asking for it.

PENGUIN £7.99 (232PP