Short Stories

The short story form is the realm of perfection, proclaims Steven Millhauser in his 2008 New York Times essay, ‘The Ambition of the Short Story’, in which the ‘virtues of smallness’ are dissected, along with the successes and shortcomings of the genre. Jess Huon’s first short story collection, The Dark Wet, could be described in many ways, but ‘small’ is not one ...

Silence by Rodney Hall

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November 2011, no. 336

Isaiah Berlin famously divided people into two categories: hedgehogs and foxes. The former know one big thing with absolute certainty; the latter know many small things. When it comes to writers of fiction, a parallel distinction might be made on stylistic grounds. There are some writers who cultivate a finely attuned personal style – a style that becomes unmistak ...

For the Patriarch first appeared in 1981 and was much lauded, winning a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. The work is an important landmark in migrant writing. Angelo Loukakis, although born in Australia, identifies with the first generation of post-World War II migrants who are under-represented in our literature. Their children and grandchildren are the ones who have engage ...

The latest work by bestselling Tasmanian novelist Rachael Treasure is a collection of short stories, written at various stages of her career. At the age of thirteen, Treasure began writing mock Mills & Boon stories with her friends. The influence, and the mocking tone, are still there in the square-jawed heroes with chocolate- (or coffee-) coloured eyes and dark curls, but the stories veer ...

A book’s epigraph doesn’t often feel like a direct personal statement to the reader, but the one in Thought Crimes, drawn from Ionesco, is just that: ‘You got stuck in the mud of life. You felt warm and cosy. (Sharply) Now you’re going to freeze.’ Imagine the world as a jigsaw from which the author has removed some pieces, substituting them with his own pieces – but wh ...

A native of Western Australia, Goldie Goldbloom now resides in Chicago with her eight children, whom she gleefully admits, in her amusing introduction to this volume of short stories, to trouncing regularly at Scrabble, ‘with little or no compunction’. Her lyrical and inventive use of language in these eighteen stories comes as no surprise, then. More puzzling is that only four of these ori ...

This is a book of rather brief short stories, few of which exceed a dozen pages. This leaves room for nineteen stories in a fairly short collection. Most of them read easily, each one effortlessly displacing its predecessor. There are, of course, standouts, to which I shall return, but the most striking overall characteristic is the distinctively personalised tone. The wide variety of personae ...

How to review a book that includes, as major characters, Simpson and his donkey, the Dig Tree, and a bus that may or may not be a tram?

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The Best Australian Stories 2010 edited by Cate Kennedy  & New Australian Stories 2 edited by Aviva Tuffield

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February 2011, no. 328

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...

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The great Russian short story writer Ivan Bunin said that in the process of becoming a writer, ‘one learns not to invent, but to see clearly...

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