In one of the reflective essays that complement her new collection of stories, My Hearts Are Your Hearts, Carmel Bird likens short story writing to the art of the conjuror who takes ‘coloured silk handkerchiefs, pull[s] them all in to make a ball, and then, with a flourish, open[s] them up as a full-blown rose’. This charming metaphor suggests not only Bird’s understanding of the subtlety and skill required to create memorable short stories, but also her delight in playing the role of magician. While her essays provide insights into the origins, crafting, and intended effects of the twenty stories in this collection, they also brim with exuberance about the process of writing, especially its often unconscious or ‘mysterious’ nature. One of Australia’s more prolific and renowned authors, Bird clearly hasn’t lost her enthusiasm and sense of wonder as she enters the imaginative world of fiction. It is an experience she’s keen to share with her readers. As one of her essays has it: ‘[t]he stories in this collection are really intended to please and entertain the reader.’
Susan Midalia reviews 'My Hearts Are Your Hearts' by Carmel Bird
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Susan Midalia has published three collections of short stories: A History of the Beanbag (2007), shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards; An Unknown Sky (2012), shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award; and the newly released Feet to the Stars (2015). She is the judge of several literary awards and a recent peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts. She continues to believe, despite the moral poverty of current political discourse and practice, that writing and reading fiction can enhance our capacity for independent thinking and compassion.
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