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Luke Johnson

Paige Clark’s She Is Haunted (Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 264 pp) opens with the story ‘Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’, a title that alludes to the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – that inform the rest of her début collection. Clark doesn’t explain why the narrator feels anxious about the survival of her unborn child and its father. The reader is left to assume that the prospect of too much undeserved happiness impels her to embark on a series of amusing and escalating bargains with a capricious God. That the narrator bears the losses with equanimity is indicative of the deadpan humour with which Clark deflects serious matters.

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If it were up to Roy Ellis, the town-proud editor-in-chief of Dungower’s only newspaper, ‘paedophilia would be systematically bred out of humans’. That just about sums up the attitudes of his readers, who are disgusted to learn that there is a convicted child sex offender living among them in rural Victoria. Only when Ellis’s maverick reporter Joni Miller re ...

Westerly: Vol. 59, No. 2 edited by Delys Bird and Tony Hughes-d’Aeth

March 2015, no. 369

‘A father is God to his son,’ declares the father in David Whish-Wilson’s story ‘The Cook’, just a split second before he is shot dead by his drug-dealing son. Thus begins this special edition of Westerly, which marks not only the magazine’s sixtieth year of publication but also the retirement of its two standing editors, Delys Bird and Tony Hughes-d’Aeth.

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