Given the Australian propensity for travel, it is odd that the global wanderings of our citizens are not much explored in literary fiction, which is still in the anguished throes of self-examination, arguably stuck in a loop. How refreshing, then, to read Anthony Macris’s fourth book, Inexperience and Other Stories, a short volume which drops the reader into the discomfiting world of an Australian couple overseas.
Our unnamed narrator and his wife, Carol, are determined not to fall into the classic European tourist traps. Fed up with Australia’s ‘shabby modernity’, they arrive in Madrid, which turns out to be not nearly as glamorous as they imagined. After an embarrassing incident the couple decamp to Toledo, where they intend to view several masterpieces by El Greco. It does not take long for cracks to appear in their relationship. This leads to separation and a complete breakdown of their European adventure.