The Best Australian Stories 2010
Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 270 pp, 9781863954952
New Australian Stories 2
Scribe, $29.95 pb, 346 pp, 9781921640865
A more 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.