Short Stories

In one of Georgia Blain’s subtle, beautifully paced stories, a young girl is given an IQ test. Believing it to be a game, she is outraged when her older brother crows about his results and she realises she has been evaluated. Later, as an adult, she can put her childhood indignation into words: ‘I thought it was just a matter of random chance. I should have been ...

From the opening page of this her second collection of stories, Susan Midalia propels her uncertain and wavering female character into an alien environment. Enter the concrete world of Moscow airport, its people who think you are simple if you smile at them, its ‘prowling men straight out of gangster movies’, tension as the blank, unblinking woman at immigration ...

Cate Kennedy’s fine second collection of short stories, Like a House on Fire, is of a determinedly realist bent. Metafictional play does not generally form part of Kennedy’s armoury, and the mostly low-rent settings and struggling characters reprise what in the 1980s and early 1990s was briefly known as dirty realism, though Kennedy’s prose is not as re ...

The Rest is Weight by Jennifer Mills & Tarcutta Wake by Josephine Rowe

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November 2012, no. 346

 The Rest is Weight, by Jennifer Mills, is a restless collection of short stories. Its settings include Russia, remote parts of Australia, Mexico, and China. The stories are densely packed; there are no ‘snapshots’ or ‘sketches’, only well-made narratives populated by plausible, complicated characters. Nor is there any decorative writing; no show ...

Fault Lines  by Pierz Newton-John

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September 2012, no. 344

In this collection of short stories from Pierz Newton-John, the author calls upon the suburban familiarity of a garden weed: couch grass, the fast-spreading pest whose rhizomes grow rapidly in a suffocating network, until the area it covers is ‘strangled’ and the custodian must ‘pull up the entire intractable tangle and start again’. This network of affliction that spreads throughout Ne ...

The making of a writer involves more than talent and ambition; perseverance and a thick skin are also prerequisites. The best that can be hoped for from a teaching institution is that potential writers are exposed to new ideas and encouraged to experiment with content and form. The results are seldom perfect, but at least they can prove interesting.

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Jay Daniel Thompson

 

fourW twenty-two
edited by David Gilbey
fourWpress, $25 pb, 174 pp, 9780958675987

 

 

f ourW twenty-two is an initiative of the Booranga Writers’ Centre in Wagga Wagga. This current edition features short stories and ...

The novelist’s art is wide ranging; he is concerned with a multitude of things that comprise the fabric of his book. The short story writer, however, is concerned with one thing that implies many, since singularity and intensity are the essence of his art. The best short story writers depend on a marked personal attitude and this is the distinguishing characteristic of David Martin’s second collection of stories whose common denominator is his compassionate understanding of the problems of New Australians.

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Solitude is a wonderful enabler of art, but as we learn from Stephen Scourfield’s stories, it can engulf us in the absence of external balancing forces and can become dangerous in the process. Each of the characters in Stephen Scourfield’s three novellas (a craftsman, a novelist, and a student of nature) is a solitary, with the possible exception of Bea ...

It’s a simple proposition: short graphic stories about city life, and one narrator – Mandy Ord – drawn with a single bulging eye. But the slice-of-life stories in Sensitive Creatures are rarely straightforward. Sweeping and brittle, kinetic and lush, this is a consistently surprising volume, at once an autobiography, a collection of vignettes, and a comprehensive catalogue of an ...