Bleak times and happier scribes
The Best Australian Stories 2010
edited by Cate Kennedy
Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 270 pp, 9781863954952
New Australian Stories 2
edited by Aviva Tuffield
Scribe, $29.95 pb, 346 pp, 9781921640865
Amore appropriate moniker for this year’s Black Inc. collection might be ‘Bleak Australian Stories 2010’. Either the editor’s taste runs to the morose or Australian writers need to venture outside and enjoy the sunshine a little more. Reading these twenty-nine stories, one could be forgiven for believing Australia to be the most broken, miserable country on earth. Ryan O’Neill’s caustic story aside, there is not a single moment of joy or happiness to be found among this relentless selection, which includes stories of racism, rural despondency, abuse, dead babies, suffocated kittens, disabling accidents, and a universal portrayal of the family unit as utterly dysfunctional.