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Jolley Prize 2014 (Shortlist): 'The Art of Life' by Faith Oxenbridge

Reviewed by
September 2014, no. 364

Jolley Prize 2014 (Shortlist): 'The Art of Life' by Faith Oxenbridge

Reviewed by
September 2014, no. 364

Inherit your great-grandmother’s wild red hair and hear the boys sing Griffin’s Gingernuts are so spicy when you walk past the Four Square court. Feel like a freak. Ask your mother if you can cut your hair short when you start high school and hear her say but it’s your best asset. Worry about your assets. Regret not cutting it on the first day of school when your form teacher christens you Orphan Annie and everyone laughs. Eat your vegemite sandwiches alone at one end of a wobbly bench outside the gym and ignore the fat girl wobbling it at the other end. Howl into the headwind as you bike home from school. Hate your mother when you arrive red-eyed, wind-whipped and she sighs. Wish you were Orphan Annie.

Comments (9)

  • It took me a while to get into the writing style. But stick with it and you'll come to love it. Very good story, brilliant ending sentence.
    Posted by Bevan
    Saturday, 20 February 2016 13:14
  • Goosebump buffet or rather goosebump seven courses meal.
    Posted by Maxwell Chong
    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 11:46
  • Wonderful. I found the style grating at first and was tempted to stop, but am so glad I didn't. I grew to love it. The most memorable story I've read for quite a while. It will stay with me and I will read it again.
    Posted by Calypso
    Sunday, 05 July 2015 12:13
  • The style matches the content. Everything a verb, a doing, an action, in spite of life being out of control. Finally losing control, is where the inner command monologue ends, so the ending works perfectly. Impressed.
    Posted by Soren
    Thursday, 30 April 2015 17:03
  • This is just gorgeous. So true, so real. Every woman is in this story at some point. Thank you.
    Posted by Naomi
    Friday, 17 April 2015 19:15
  • Innovative and well-crafted, but overall it's a little too smug and showy -- even glib -- for my taste. The style grated after a while. It's not really as poignant as it pretends. Amid the sardonic humor, I feel I lost the person along the way -- or maybe never really got to know her.
    Posted by Steven J. Lowery
    Friday, 27 February 2015 14:02
  • This was one of the most beautiful, truthful, realistic stories ever. Different -but nice- style of writing.
    Posted by Keturah Cutting
    Saturday, 07 February 2015 11:26
  • best story i have ever read- and I have read enough for my eyes to collapse and die like melbourne cup favourite- should have won by country mile, a furlong, a couple of pixels.
    Posted by Michael Heffernan
    Wednesday, 05 November 2014 16:04
  • Such beautiful, poignant waste and wreckage and unfairness. An excellent story with a worthy ending.
    Posted by Glen Hunting
    Monday, 01 September 2014 21:59

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