Bad things happen to people; people do bad things. Yet Spufford remains cautiously optimistic about the potential for human redemption. The bus conductor Ben, who suffers from paranoid delusions, is, for example, cured by the love of a good woman. Here, perhaps, we can see the author’s faith — about which he wrote in his engaging apologia, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense (2012) — quietly working away in the background, although he never stuffs it down our throats. Religion is there too in the novel’s title, taken from the Requiem mass. Yet it’s in its rendition of the here-and-now, rather than in any theological striving after the eternal, that this book truly comes to life.