Leavings is a collection of short fiction by the author. From the intro. it appears that these are earlier writings in her career and aren't her best work. The intro. was a bit odd but maybe I need to read it again . . .
"Leavings" tells the story of an old woman who believes that when one dies bits of their personality are passed on to whoever is near. As her mean spirited husband lay dying in a bed upstairs she does her best to keep her favorite grandchild away from the bed as he passes. What bothered me most about this story was the fact the she allowed her many other innocent grandchildren and her children to "inherit" his qualities and wasn't concerned in the least about them.
"Baby Dolls" is a sad little tale about a lonely, childless man who works for a woman running a porcelain doll shop. She praises him for his gentleness with her babies and when one of the dolls is damaged in transit he learns that quirkiness isn't the reason she's so careful around the dolls.
"Mime Games" tells the story of one woman's harrowing lunch hour run-in with a local mime. It says some disturbing things about human nature and isn't easily forgotten.
"The Princess" is about a spoiled little girl left to her devices. It's one of those "whose the ghost" type stories and left my mind shortly after reading it.
"Gilgamesh Recividus" tells the tale of immortal men and unicorns. It was another that just didn't stick with me.
"Ancient One" is about a cursed family and the teddy bear passed down through the generations that is much more than it seems. I liked this one more than the previous two but thoughts of a Koontz book featuring a similar type thing kept popping into my head. The one where the juju doll comes alive and wreaks havoc on its hapless protagonist? I think its called Tick Tock.
"Tomb with a View" Nice title but less than stellar story. This is about a New York city that is quickly being swallowed up by smog. One man decides to stick it out after nearly everyone else evacuates (or dies) and is slowly going mad. In this bizarre tale, the rats, the roaches and the underground dwellers move on up to his highrise. This story just never jelled for me.
"Under the Haystack" is a sad vignette about lost dreams, death and a ghost who may or may not be real.
"Heart of Stone" is about a heartless man who collects gargoyles. His hobby and callousness end up causing a whole lot of trouble! This would've made a good "Tales from the Darkside" episode.
"Here There Be Dragons" is another that didn't work for me at all. It's about merlin in the modern world and his search for a man to assist him in locating the holy grail. I was bored and skimmed most of it.
"Letting Go" is another tale of grief. More reality and just plain sad than horror or fantasy.
"Yrena" is about a male predator in post revolution Russia who takes in a homeless waif to use and abuse but discovers she's some sort of vampire. Morbid and a bit scattered, this one didn't work for me either.
The collection ends with "Just A Little Bug" that works on the same themes as "Letting Go" and "Under the Haystack" but which is much more painful to read than either of them. It's about a little girl with terminal cancer and though extremely hard to read it makes one step back and think about the fragility of life.
In the end I have mixed feelings about this collection. Some were ok, some deadly dull and several extremely emotional but I wouldn't reread any of them.