The Comfort of Figs
UQP, $32.95 pb, 334 pp
In 2005 Simon Cleary was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Award for the best manuscript of an emerging Queensland author, and here it is, every bit as fresh and lyrical as the report promised. It is one of those novels that works by close-up focus on substantiating detail, leaving the main contours of the plot to emerge as they will; like a bridge, perhaps, calling attention to its line and form and even its usefulness. It takes a more careful eye to appreciate the development and assembly and the structural stresses – its very strength.