ALL THE GALAXIES
Philip Miller | Allen & Unwin | $30
Two novels are marching in tandem here. One is the familiar survival-in-dystopia story – Scotland has devolved into a bunch of squabbling city-states and a disillusioned journalist looks for his son, Roland, after riot police crush a student demonstration. In the other, a supernatural story, a young boy (er, Roland) wakes up in the afterlife, meets his talking spirit dog and sets off in search of his lost mother. Father goes through hell and son goes to heaven. Although the dual plots are occasionally disorientating, Miller’s tale exposes the fragile nature of both social order and personal relationships. His descriptive prose, especially of the Orwellian beast Glasgow has become, makes for a rewarding read.