Stephen Scourfield

As the River Runs by Stephen Scourfield

by
April 2013, no. 350

Stephen Scourfield’s As the River Runs is set in the Kimberley of contemporary Western Australia. A loose sequel to the award-winning Other Country (2009), As The River Runs retains Scourfield’s focus on the scenery and characters of the Western Australian outback, but moves the action forward twenty years to the present day.

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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, the septuagenarian companion of Matthew Rossi in the second novella, Like Water, who is slightly more inclined towards relationships than Matthew, who says of his ‘fistful’of girlfriends, ‘In terms of human relationships, the only thing I enjoy more than their company is not having their company.’ When practised by Dr Bartholomew Milner, naturalist and Ethical Man, solitude’s dangers become obvious.

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