De­but novel ‘An­ti­dote to a Curse' from au­thor James Cristina, ex­tract won the City of Mel­bourne Lord Mayor's Cre­ative Writ­ing Prize in 2013

An­ti­dote of a Curse (Tran­sit Lounge Pub­lish­ing $29.99)

Q Magazine - - Q Comment -

It's the 90s. Sil­vio Portelli re­turns to Mel­bourne af­ter time spent teach­ing in Eng­land and rents a room from the charis­matic oc­to­ge­nar­ian, Nancy Tri­g­anza.

Nancy is hav­ing an elab­o­rate aviary con­structed to in­dulge her pas­sion for birds.

At a city sex shop, Sil­vio meets the mys­te­ri­ous Zlatko, a Bos­nian im­mi­grant and, in a pre­vi­ous life, a col­lec­tor of rare birds. Sil­vio be­comes ob­sessed with Zlatko, and his own jour­nal and dreams be­gin to mir­ror Zlatko's past, and in time the re­al­ity of what hap­pened in Bos­nia.

Such rev­e­la­tions are coun­ter­pointed by Sil­vio's own tense wait to learn the re­sults of his tests for HIV.

Bold in de­sign, An­ti­dote to a Curse is a story in which the hunter be­comes the hunted, the writer the sub­ject, and vice versa. Cristina lov­ingly cap­tures Sta­lac­tites cafe where Zlatko and Sil­vio of­ten meet, and a city en­meshed with Europe, both phys­i­cally and in spirit.

Rich with im­ages and al­lu­sions yet grounded in the ev­ery­day, An­ti­dote to a Curse is a star­tling de­but from Mel­bourne au­thor James Cristina.

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