There’s a theory that short fiction is the perfect panacea for modern life. As our attention spans grow weak on a diet of digital gruel and as our free time clogs up with late-night work emails, enter the short story as an efficient fiction-booster administered daily on the commute between suburb and CBD. I love this theory, and I will forever resent Jane Rawson for exposing its flaws in a 2018 Overland article on the subject. Rawson explains that most time-poor readers prefer to dip in and out of long novels, where they can greet familiar worlds without the awkward orientation period required by a new text. In contrast, says Rawson, collections of ‘stories plunge you back into that icy pool of not-knowing every 500, 800, 2000 or 5000 words. Who wants that? Pretty much no-one, if bestseller lists are anything to go by.’... (read more)
The Example by Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson & Flinch by James Barclay, et al.
ABR asked a few colleagues and contributors to nominate some books that have beguiled them – might even speak to others – at this unusual time.... (read more)
See You at the Toxteth by Peter Corris, selected by Jean Bedford & The Red Hand by Peter Temple
Being Various: New Irish short stories edited by Lucy Caldwell
The plethora of crime stories is such that, in order to succeed, they must either follow a well-trodden narrative path and do so extremely well, or run with a high concept and hope for the best. Having the word ‘girl’ in the title doesn’t hurt. Readers are familiar with genre tropes ...... (read more)