AUSTRALIAN LOVE STORIES
Inkerman & Blunt, $28.99 pb, 304 pp, 9780987540164
You are perfect for this story. I will never meet you.’ We are invited into Australian Love Stories and into Bruce Pascoe’s erotic reverie with this line from ‘Dawn’. The reader is embraced, as the luxuriating eye of Pascoe’s narrator embraces the recumbent body of the woman beside him. His gaze is illicit, touch forbidden. We are privileged voyeurs, given temporary access to hidden thoughts and lives. Love. This paltry word hardly describes the myriad guises of friendship, affection, homosexual and heterosexual relationship, desire, lust, loneliness, and satisfaction; the gamut of emotions expressed in the twenty-nine stories editor Cate Kennedy selected from the ‘sea of stories’ she received. I do not have enough room here to mention each singular invocation of love by name. Some stories follow the constraints of realism, others are more expressionistic, but each holds a gift – a kernel of some essential truth about the human condition. The ones I mention simply struck a special chord for me.