A very strange collection which revels in assembling a band of misfits, outcasts and deviants. When Baloo urged Mowgli to look under the rocks and plants to take a glance at the fancy ants (and maybe try a few), it was towards a greater awareness of the natural world and all its constituent parts he was pushing his pupil. When Caldwell peels back official Ireland’s urbane and sophisticated sheen, we get a look at an Ireland that exists, I’m sure, but I don’t feel any the wiser for it. If I can run with the Jungle book analogy for the moment, there was an edifying aspect to Baloo’s teachings, a straining towards comprehending the world as many, and yet as one. Room little Darker notes that there are many shades of green that walk among us, some of them tragic, but the abiding sense from the collection is of a kind of voyeuristic nihilistic glee. The prose is scratchy, at times memorable, but for me fails to come together in the grander, indefinable sense that gives meaning to the collection. Rather, all we get is a a string of grimy ditties; pained people leading painful lives.