John the gardener is disillusioned with his life, past and present. Alan is John's assistant, helplessly in love with Sylvie, the stable girl. These three characters are united by their friendship and by George, the barn spider.
Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Notwithstanding.
The master of historical fiction and bestselling author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin concludes his wartime trilogy with The Autumn of the Ace. Here's our handy guide to the series and what to read next.
From novels about parenting to making love last, here are some great books to read in your forties.