Laura Elvery’s second short story collection, Ordinary Matters, shows the same talent for precise observation, pathos, and humour as her accomplished début collection, Trick of the Light (2018). It differs in its creation of a greater range of narrators and voices, and in its use of a specific ideological framework through which to unify the collection: each of its twenty stories is prefaced by the name of a Nobel Prize-winning female scientist and the ‘prize motivation’ for her award. This device might be read as subverting the sexist stereotype that, denying women the capacity for rational thought, consigns them to the ‘softer’ realms of emotion and artistic endeavour. It also encourages an interesting way of thinking about female desire as it pertains to a range of experiences, including creativity, ambition, motherhood, sexuality, and political activism.... (read more)
Growing up, my brother and I lived with Dad in a Housing Commission flat among a row of identical flats. Back in those days, we played Greatest Hits of the 70s through a subwoofer on the back deck. During the guitar solo in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ we howled over the music and the neighbourhood dogs followed our lead ...... (read more)
The call of a bansuri rising to her window from the street below awakens Mehr. It is a crooked call; the initial notes, delicate and malleable, make all the right turns inside the hollow of a bamboo reed, but soon miss the swivel that all sounds must make to morph into melodies. The magic that happens between a human mouth and a ...... (read more)
The sunset is orange, the sky scattered with clouds. We’re eating pumpkin and lentil soup out of bowls from home. I didn’t think it was necessary to bring them, the cupboards here are well stocked, but Irene insisted. She says they’re the perfect size. Also, she read in her online mother’s group that the glaze on old crockery often contains lead ...... (read more)
Certain days: it is easy to imagine this small, once-prosperous river town (barely distinct from many other small, once prosperous river towns) as if you are only passing through it, shunpiking the thruways in favour of the scenic rural two-lanes on a road trip in your better, your best life. The life in which your formidable boxer-turned-human-rights-lawyer wife has simply pointed to this town on a much misfolded map and declared: Here, lunch.... (read more)
I am a girl who knows how to hold a gun. On weekends, Dad drives me out to the pistol club, while Mum pulls white-sapped weeds from the garden. She plants natives that can handle the salt in the air; angular, bristling plants with angular, bristling names: banksia, grevillea, bottlebrush. A line of Geraldton Wax along the verge to replace some mean and blighted ...
Tom wasn’t supposed to bring the wig home; it was peeled from his scalp like a banana skin every night. Then it was arranged on a faceless polystyrene head that sat in front of his dressing room mirror.... (read more)
In the car we wound around the bay, which, on the map, made the shape of an ear with a tear-shaped island off the coast like a jewel earring. My mother and I were going to see the lighthouse out on the cape – or what was left of it anyway, which was not much, she told me, but stones and rubble ...... (read more)