Jolley Prize 2011 (Winner): 'The Neighbour’s Beans' by Gregory Day

In the weeks and months after his Moira died he’d whittled off the callers, one by one, until even gentle Dave O’Donnell, his oldest friend, felt like a stranger when he came by to drop off a family-size pie. This was an unlikely turn of behaviour. In the resolute stare he gave Dave at the side door of the house, there was a grief that could brook no niceties, despite their history together. Dave wouldn’t be coming in. All the tasks and laughter the two old men had shared over the years became just a dwindling sound on the doorstep between them, an echo like they used to hear from currawongs under the bluestone bridge, when dusk settled in and rain was on the wind and they were called home by their mothers for tea.

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Gregory Day

Gregory Day

Gregory Day is a writer, poet, and musician whose debut novel The Patron Saint Of Eels won the prestigious Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 2006 and was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for a first novel. Two novels since, Ron McCoy’s Sea of Diamonds, which was shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Prize, and The Grand Hotel, are also set in the southwest Victorian landscape of Mangowak.

Published in October 2011 no. 335