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Debra Adelaide

In the spirit of our annual ‘Books of the Year’ feature, in which we ask a range of writers and critics to nominate their favourite new fiction and non-fiction titles, we asked ten Australian short story writers to nominate their favourite short story collections and individual stories. As this is the first time we have run a short-story themed feature of this nature, our ten writers were free to nominate older titles if they wished to do so. Our only request was that at least one of their selections should have been published recently and that at least one be by an Australian author.

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Why are there so many books about death and dying appearing at the moment? Is it about the baby boomers facing up to their mortality? It is certainly a subject that interests me, and Debra Adelaide’s novel should be compelling. Unfortunately, I found its determined flippancy laboured and grating. The first-person narrator, Delia, a writer of household guides, is not yet forty. Given a bad prognosis for her breast cancer, she decides that her last work will be a guide to dying, in which she will record her physical and emotional journey.

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