‘My sister Emily likes ponies and show jumping and arenas.’ Steeplechase, Krissy Kneen’s fourth book, opens innocently enough with this unremarkable announcement of a common girlhood infatuation. Before the first paragraph ends, this innocent observation is tempered by the obviously unwholesome quality that underpins the imaginative equine play of two young sisters. Foreshadowing the intricacies of this sibling relationship, the steeplechase game highlights Emily’s dominance and the narrator’s incompetence. It is also laced with psychic and physical cruelty: ‘She tells me that I am a bad horse, a lazy horse, a slow horse, and I take the whipping silently because it is true. I am a bad horse. I am not any kind of horse at all.’
Hall of mirrors
by Krissy Kneen
Text Publishing, $29.99 pb, 224 pp, 9781922079879
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