Life & Style Weekend - - RELAX - Amanda O’cal­laghan

UQP, $22.95

This book of short sto­ries fea­tures tales of fam­i­lies and mar­riage and other dan­ger­ous re­la­tion­ships. There are women who put up with their hus­band’s whims rather than risk bring­ing on fits of tem­per that are more to do with psy­cho­log­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion rather than phys­i­cal vi­o­lence — but some­times not. These are the peo­ple next door, who you think you know well but har­bour se­crets or re­sent­ments or fears, and there are tales of the seem­ingly ev­ery­day that take a twist and leave the reader more than un­easy. In this first col­lec­tion of sto­ries from the Bris­bane-based au­thor, there is an anx­i­ety in even the most mun­dane of events, and mo­tives stirred by mys­ter­ies that can never be guessed at. They have been pub­lished and won awards in Aus­tralia, the UK and Ire­land. While not hor­ror sto­ries in the usual sense, many will have you look­ing over your shoul­der … or the neigh­bour’s fence.

BARRY REYNOLDS VER­DICT: Leave the lights on

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