Too Close to Home
Vintage, $32.95 pb, 304 pp, 9781864711776
Something happened to the Australian suburban novel while Georgia Blain was trying her hand at memoir in Births Deaths Marriages (2008) and Young Adult fiction in Darkwater (2010). Put it down to The Slap juggernaut. The working family is now angry, high, horny, and mad about tattoos. Gone are the scenes of inarticulate loss at the kitchen table or transitory escape among the drying sheets, told in recherché prose. Where there was once self-immolating resignation, there is now full-blown resentment. The pit bulls of racism, sexism, and class conflict have leapt the back fence. Get cut off by an Asian taxi driver: pop a vein. See some young girls at the beach: cue pornographic daydream. Visit a friend with a Danish sofa: apply her face creams in the bathroom.