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The poo phantom

Chloe Wilson’s début short story collection
by
March 2021, no. 429
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Hold Your Fire by Chloe Wilson

Scribner Australia, $32.99 pb, 248 pp

The poo phantom

Chloe Wilson’s début short story collection
by
March 2021, no. 429

A series of beautifully controlled fictional voices and an exquisite sense of literary craft contribute to the dark magnificence of Chloe Wilson’s début collection of short stories, Hold Your Fire. This volume explores the strange and sometimes surprising abject horror that characterises the quotidian and the ordinary. The stories both examine and revel in the classically Kristevan abject realities of the body’s expulsions and the disgust that is often characteristic of social marginality. For example, the ‘poo phantom’ writes a ‘message in shit on the walls’; tampons wrapped in toilet paper are described as ‘bodies that needed to be shrouded for burial’; a character feels a ‘quiver down to the bowels, the rush that is equal parts excitement and dread’; another tries ‘to pass a kidney stone’; and two sisters try an ‘Expulsion Cure’, where the doctor asks how much they expel: ‘And how often? And what is the colour? The texture? … When you eat something – poppy seeds, say, or the skin on a plum – how long does it take to reappear?’

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Hold Your Fire' by Chloe Wilson

Hold Your Fire

by Chloe Wilson

Scribner Australia, $32.99 pb, 248 pp

Buy this book

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