This is a playful, intelligent, unsettling series of stories, fourteen of them, collected from publications going back a few decades from 1987 until 2012 as well as, presumably, unpublished work. Due in part to this long span, the book traces back and forth through time. There is even a Sydney pre-Opera House (just) in one story, and various social and cultural artefacts and processes come and go.
For the most part, Skovron uses understated, non-flashy prose rather than, dare I say, ‘poetic’ prose, and these stories are the better for that. He is, of course, much more well-known as one of Australia’s pre-eminent poets. This is his first collection of short stories; he has previously published a novella, The Poet (2005). Not only does Skovron demonstrate talent with prose but he is also an artist; the book’s charming cover illustration, called ‘Clock’, is his own work as well.