by Carol Lefevre
Spinifex Press, $24.95 pb, 112 pp
Carol Lefevre has shown herself adept at exploring connection and alienation in different genres. In The Happiness Glass (2018), the ambiguous zone between fiction and memoir forms a creative space within which Lefevre plumbs the intricacies of motherhood and loss; home and exile. Murmurations is imbued with similar tropes, the slight heft of the book belying its ethical density and the scope of its narrative ambition.
The novella, which comprises eight discrete yet interlocking stories, focuses on the lives of six couples who socialised during the second wave of feminism. Opening years later with the funeral of Erris Cleary, one of the women in the group, Murmurations revolves around the mystery of her death – doubts initiated by the discovery of disturbing audio fragments in her husband’s recordings of medical letters. The past is seen through the eyes of four of the remaining women; the other stories are from the perspective of four different characters, three of whom may be crucial in bringing to light a monstrous wrong. The stories, set in varying times between the 1960s and the narrative present, move back and forth in time internally, dwelling on the implications of earlier decisions, with the absence of Erris an urgent presence throughout.