In the first story of this collection, The collapse of the Valiverna, the reader witnesses the caving-in of a great building which causes many deaths. This story is, in a sense, a concentration of Dino Buzzati's technique - for each of these stories traces the collapse of the known, everyday world which leaves his characters fixed in a moment of terror. The macabre, nightmarish incidents common to its collection of stories are all rooted in the ordinary world but out of this very ordinariness grows a sense of menace which will hold the reader in suspense. Some of them have an almost parable-like connotation which lends them an extra dimension of depth. Intrinsically readable, comparable perhaps to Edgar Allan Poe, Buzzati's work also tells us much about contemporary society.