Felicity Plunkett reviews 'Demi-Gods' by Eliza Robertson

Felicity Plunkett reviews 'Demi-Gods' by Eliza Robertson

Demi-Gods

by Eliza Robertson

Bloomsbury, $24.99 pb, 240 pp, 9781408895597

In the preface to Demi-Gods, a boy burns moths with a magnifying glass. A girl – the novel’s narrator, Willa – watches ‘khaki wings’ that seem to be ‘folded from rice paper’. She imagines ‘ten moths circling a candle to form a lantern’, cries later, but does not stop Patrick. The wings ignite ‘like dog-eared pages in a book’.

Like dog-eared pages, Willa’s memories are folded for revisiting. Memory, she thinks, returning to a handful of charged encounters with Patrick over many years, is a dwelling place both in the sense of a residence and ‘a lingering’. Lingering disrupts time. It holds and expands some moments, eclipsing others. In narrative terms, the novel’s vivid pieces enact the push-pull of magnification and erasure, set against the backdrop of a child’s developing awareness amidst neglectful and self-absorbed adults.

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Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett is a poet and critic. Her first collection of poetry Vanishing Point (UQP, 2009) won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. She has a chapbook Seastrands (2011) in Vagabond Press’ Rare Objects series. Her new collection A Kinder Sea is forthcoming. Felicity was Poetry Editor for University of Queensland Press and edited Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She has a PhD from the University of Sydney and her reviews and essays have been widely published in The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books etc. Her essay ‘Sound Bridge’, a portrait of Indigenous Australian musician Dr G. Yunupingu, was first published in Australian Book Review and anthologised in Best Australian Essays 2015 (Black Inc, ed. Geordie Williamson).

Published in December 2017, no. 397

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