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John Dale

In 2004, New York-based publisher Akashic Books released Brooklyn Noir, a collection of short fiction written under a specific brief. Stories had to be set in that neighbourhood and feature noir themes: simmering familial revenge, cheating and double-crossing, sexual betrayal, domestic discord, murderous trysts, down-at-heel detectives ...

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The cover-blurb is a genre all its own. No sensible publisher would grace the cover of a book with the assertion, ‘This is a pile of crap’, even if it is. So we should all take a blurb cum granum salis. The blurb for John Dale’s Leaving Suzie Pye reads: ‘Rips along with verve and confidence … funny, energetic and full of life.’ The signatory is Helen Garner. Can this be the same Helen Garner who gave us The Children’s Bach and The First Stone, I asked myself, as I persevered with Dale’s lacklustre novel. What significant omissions are concealed behind those three periods in her remark?

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