Di­verse sto­ries hint at breadth of tal­ent

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - Rachel Ed­wards

new boyfriend, who is Chi­nese, is taken to the fam­ily farm in the con­ser­va­tive ru­ral hin­ter­land. It is a not a sub­tle ac­count, and the small­minded val­ues couched in a rough hu­mour and gruff fa­cades are a fa­mil­iar pres­ence in many Aus­tralian towns.

Muse, which was in­cluded in Earthly De­lights, Grif­fith Re­view’s Novella Project IV, is the best story in the col­lec­tion. It is a gen­tle de­pic­tion of age­ing and loss, the lat­ter a re­cur­ring These two books cap­ture a pro­found di­ver­sity theme. These char­ac­ters are won­der­fully in con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralian short-story writhu­man, and the story is beau­ti­fully carved. It is ing. Seven Sto­ries is a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries also a gen­tle de­pic­tion of the sweet sex­ual re­from Tas­ma­nian writ­ers pub­lished by the elu­awak­en­ing of an old man. It is con­sid­er­ably sive De­whurst Jen­nings In­sti­tute. The sto­ries longer than the others and fea­tures more sati­s­are set around the world, the seven writ­ers con­fy­ing char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment. nected only by dint of be­ing Tas­ma­nian. In The sub­ject mat­ter and styles in Seven Sto­con­trast, the slow-burn sto­ries in Me­lanie ries vary wildly. The Shy Birds by Emma L. WaCheng’s Aus­tralia Day speak of mid­dle Aus­traters ex­hibits an acute sus­pense­ful re­al­ism in lia. They are an ex­am­i­na­tion of which she takes the reader some quiet lives in con­tem­po­ra­long­side a cou­ple walk­ing on ary Mel­bourne. an east coast beach. They meet

The pieces in Seven Sto­ries an old fel­low who of­fers to vary in voice and style and show them a nest, a beau­ti­ful roam widely. Some are ex­pern nest. Is he gen­uinely friendly or imen­tal, some blunt, some m malev­o­lent? beau­ti­ful. This is writ­ing from a The ten­sion ebbs and flows vastly dif­fer­ent is­land than the with one Pe­ter Con­rad fled with wf from a the per­fect sound wf fore­shad­ow­ing,of gun­shots such crit­i­cal alacrity in 1968 ( (un­re­lated) to the ner­vous “pi­pand this col­lec­tion cel­e­brates a pip­ping” strong writ­ing com­mu­nity. b p birds. pbof the black and white

This is mod­ern Tas­ma­nia, Susie Green­hill was awarded there are no hack­neyed repret the 2016 Richell Prize for her sen­ta­tions of the deep­est wilder­ness, no fetishi­sa­tion of the mmb back manuscriptwith her The Clink­ing.del­i­cate prose,She is wild gothic is­land. These have this time in a story that speaks long been traits in work com­ing from Ta­sof love and loss in a Euro­pean war zone. If that ma­nia, with the land­scape as a char­ac­ter. Next seems like too big a theme for a short story, to the re­al­ism of Cheng’s dusty sub­urbs, Seven Green­hill han­dles it con­fi­dently and with Sto­ries is ef­ful­gent. It also con­tains some of the beau­ti­ful use of lan­guage, es­pe­cially when de­most ex­hil­a­rat­ing voices in con­tem­po­rary scrib­ing the sea and wa­ter­ways. lit­er­a­ture in Aus­tralia. The Chaos of Life Beyond Death in the Out

With­out ex­cep­tion these sto­ries tran­scend back, by Adam Ous­ton, is a ram­bunc­tious and the fads and fash­ions of Aus­tralian lit­er­a­ture, ex­hil­a­rat­ing story of a man hitch­hik­ing in the which, from an is­land per­specout­back, picked up by a zom­bie tive can seem like a ba­nal Sydf film­mak­ing crew that he ney-Mel­bourne ban­ter. Seven e even­tu­ally mur­ders. Both Tasade Sto­riesof writ­ing houses in the Tas­ma­nia.ge­nius mmm­brig­men­tion­ma­ni­anm of sto­ries, hor­i­zon­tal with scrub. nary a

Cheng, on the other hand, Also in­cluded is Michael of­fers up the un­re­lent­ing burbs. Blake’s Donny and Bucket on She cracks open the char­ac­ters the Tree­less Plain, which com­lives.of She ppt­teases liv­ing out un­dra­mat­ic­the ram­i­fi­pletes t the an­thol­ogy. It is about peo­ple

two teenage boys mak­ing the cations and rip­ples em­a­nat­ing breakb from their home town, from de­ci­sions big and small. Ce­duna — mak­ing a run for it. Her at­ten­tion to de­tail car­ries It is a lim­i­nal story, one that these sto­ries, along with the oc­does not cover a jour­ney but a ca­sional fine turn of phrase, rode­ci­sion. Com­plet­ing the seven bust di­a­logue and rea­son­ably are Ruairi Mur­phy, Rob­bie Arde­vel­oped char­ac­ters. While n nott, who won the 2014 Scribe Seven Sto­ries has a lush­ness, N Non­fic­tion Prize, and Ben WalCheng’s col­lec­tion is all sub­ur­ban arid­ity. ter, an in­creas­ingly recog­nised writer of po­etry

Aus­tralia Day con­tains some mar­vel­lous and prose, as well as the ed­i­tor of this col­lec­tion dex­ter­ity with lan­guage and a deft use of de­and the brains be­hind the De­whurst Jen­nings scrip­tion: the un­ease felt about “wads of dol­lars In­sti­tute. The in­sti­tute con­sisted of oc­ca­sional pressed deep into wait­ing palms”, or “Celtic gath­er­ings of writ­ers to share ideas. In­vi­ta­tions skin-pa­pery stiff des­tined to sprout can­cers like were by post­card only. tiny horns”, or “the com­puter ex­pires with a Dif­fer­ent parts of the short-story spec­trum melo­di­ous sigh”. are rep­re­sented by these two col­lec­tions.

The hu­man man­i­fes­ta­tion of grief in the Cheng’s Aus­tralia Day, with its clear, somestory Things That Grow is del­i­cately drawn. It’s times crys­talline prose of­fers up the mun­dane about a re­cently be­reaved widow who dis­co­vand the mid­dle­brow, which is not al­ways a bad ers her­self preg­nant and it is a vis­ceral de­scripthing. The sto­ries are tightly con­structed with tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence of loss. The char­ac­ter the com­pany of some well-drawn char­ac­ters, has with­drawn from the world, from her fam­but they are all in the same key. ily; she is car­ry­ing the feel­ing that death of­ten Seven Sto­ries was de­scribed by Richard brings to the liv­ing, one of pur­pose­less­ness. Flana­gan at its re­cent launch in Ho­bart as “a

Cheng’s re­al­ism and straight­for­ward prose sig­nif­i­cant book in Tas­ma­nian let­ters”. This also re­veal the ug­li­ness and crass­ness of Ausun­der­states the im­por­tance of these writ­ers in tralian be­hav­iour, and so much of what the ex­the na­tional short story con­ver­sa­tion. At least pres­sion Aus­tralia Day in­creas­ingly, and three of them have nov­els with ma­jor Aus­trairon­i­cally, con­notes: a racism. Racism shoots lian pub­lish­ers. This is a piv­otal mo­ment in through these sto­ries ca­su­ally and sharply. Tas­ma­nian let­ters.

In the tit­u­lar story racism hov­ers through­out, like a dog snarling in the back­ground. The is a writer and ed­i­tor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.