They are at once uplifting and depressing, cynical and idealistic, humorous and thought-provoking. The one thing each story has in common is that it leaves the reader with a new insight into the human condition. 'On Horseback', the title story, gets to grip with contemporary Paris and Parisian society. In 'That Pig of a Morin' the author renders beautifully the interaction between the sexes in relation to courtship as governed by the customs of the time. Female characters feature in every shape and size throughout his work and in this volume we encounter many examples, from the unfortunate Madame Loisel in 'The Necklace' to the plucky Jewess, Rachel, in 'Mademoiselle Fifi'. In his stories de Maupassant found the perfect vehicle for his startling range of subjects; sharpness of observation coupled with wit and objectivity paint a vivid picture of his time. Above all, however, he is a supreme story-teller who values the telling of stories above all else those collected here are amongst his very best, proving again that his quality as a writer of short stories is beyond question.