Breaking and entering

Piecemeal transgressions of a small town
by
March 2022, no. 440
Buy this book

Australiana by Yumna Kassab

Ultimo Press, $32.99 pb, 292 pp

Breaking and entering

Piecemeal transgressions of a small town
by
March 2022, no. 440
Yumna Kassab (photograph supplied)

Australiana opens with a break-in. Lifting away a flyscreen, strangers climb into a man’s house, help themselves to his biscuits. The crime doesn’t feel important – it’s the fourth in a month, we’re told – but the intrusion does. It evokes the entanglements of small towns, the way in which lives intersect, physical proximity breaking down the barriers of class and culture and personal choice that can divide urban populations into subcultures. As a declaration of intent, the image of trespass is pretty clear: there is no real privacy in this town, and as readers we’re about to gain access.

In the first two sections of the book, short, interlinked stories ripple out, often connected by an object: a stolen silver spoon, a child’s jumper, a stone. The short story writer’s knack for the telling gesture is everywhere, a craft refined through microfictional practice. Kassab draws on real-world observation and careful listening. There is a lightness of touch to her direct and lively prose.

Jennifer Mills reviews 'Australiana' by Yumna Kassab

Australiana

by Yumna Kassab

Ultimo Press, $32.99 pb, 292 pp

Buy this book

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.