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Libby Angel

Where I Slept opens with an ending. The nameless narrator, a twenty-something woman, is leaving her rural hometown and the boarding house where she lived, for new adventures in the big smoke – but not before daubing ‘sentimentality is the enemy of truth’ on the front gate of her soon-to-be former university. That proverb proves prophetic as the narrator establishes a new life in Melbourne’s inner city. This is the 1990s, just before gentrification had gained ascendance, when the area still had a ‘bohemian’ feel. The narrator drifts through sharehouses where rent goes unpaid and housemates are replaced frequently. She frequents seedy bars where strangers shout her drinks, and exhibitions where free booze flows.

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An epigraph from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected lectures (2012) sets the tone of Libby Angel’s novel, The Trapeze Act ‘what is the moment but a fragment of greater time?’ This book is composed of fragments, which, taken together, capture the desire for a complete understanding of history and the impossibility of satisfyin ...