Collected Stories is a misleading title for Louis Nowra’s new publication. It’s nothing as uniform as that. Apart from poetry, is there any genre in which Nowra has not made his mark? He’s a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, memoirist, local historian, essayist, reviewer, feature journalist – and the author of one enduring Australian gem in Così (1992), in all its multiple forms. Yet he has scouted out other territories and the results jostle together in Collected Stories. Such a title conjures up a lifetime’s labour in the genre – gatherings of Anton Chekhov or John Cheever or Alice Munro. But Nowra’s volume is essentially a ragbag of disparate writings.
Gerard Windsor’s most recent book is The Tempest-Tossed Church: Being a Catholic today. He has published twelve books: fiction, memoirs, comic verse, essays, a non-fiction account of an Australian infantry company in Vietnam, and an extended essay on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. He has long reviewed for the Fairfax and New Limited newspapers.