At the heart of each of these 19 short stories about the passion and purpose of travel is the emotional baggage a character carries. Larry Dark, the editor, has compiled pieces by accomplished short story writers that have a travel theme. In Paul Theroux's "Portrait of a Lady," a Harvard Business School graduate cannot enjoy the romance of Paris because of his mission as a courier. In the late Maria Thomas's "Summer Opportunity," a bookish and overweight African American student suddenly finds herself a sex goddess in Nigeria. The best stories here present views of change: William Maxwell's "The Gardens of Mont-Saint-Michel" concerns a husband and wife who encounter disappointment when, 18 years after a paradisiacal visit to the abbey of the title, they return there with their family; elsewhere, the late Allen Barnett's "Succor" finds an HIV-positive man returning to Rome after spending years as a care-partner. Although Dark (The Literary Lover) has assembled only traditionally constructed short stories, several are superbly crafted, including Alice Munro's "Hold Me Fast, Don't Let Me Pass," about a woman uncovering her late husband's past in Scotland, and Lorrie Moore's "Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People," concerning a visit by a woman and her mother to the Blarney Stone. As a woman fighting illness in Kate Braverman's "Virgin of Tenderness" notes, "You can know yourself absolutely in any ancient ruin." By careful selection of stories and authors who are experienced in the art of short story writing, Dark has created a winner for short story collections.