North of the Moonlight Sonata
McPhee Gribble, 147 pp, $11.99 pb
In the title story of Kerryn Goldsworthy’s impressive first collection, a man and a woman are travelling inland from the city towards the point where main roads give way to obscure tracks. Their relationship is failing, though they have yet to admit this to each other. They avoid honesty by addressing the question of honesty itself:
But, I said, granted that in the network of language the interstices were great trackless deserts of feeling and experience, surely to strike out across them in the name of honesty was to condemn yourself to silence.
They drive on, not speaking. Gradually a disturbing analogy builds. The map they are navigating by provides them with points of reference in unfamiliar country. The last landmark in the midst of emptiness is something called the ‘Moonlight Tank’, provoking memories of the Sonata of the same name. North of the tank there is ‘nothing’; the last object that might have signalled Romance fails to live up to expectations. North of the picture of the tank there is a small hole in the map, and the lovers find themselves driving into a landscape where even the road has disappeared.