Text Publishing, $29.99 pb, 272 pp, 9781925498592
The characters in Melanie Cheng’s collection of short stories are all outsiders or misfits in some way. Some feel conspicuously out of place, such as the Lebanese immigrant Maha, in ‘Toy Town’, who is struggling with suburban Australian life, or the Chinese medical student Stanley, who is visiting the family farm of a friend in the titular story. Stanley freezes when he is asked at dinner to nominate his AFL team: he has never watched a game of football in his life. Other characters feel isolated owing to their beliefs or temperament.