Month: May 2017

Longing

I am behind on my RAF reading (I am behind on life in general ), and so this will be a write up of four stories. And though I’m aware of that human bias to find connections where there may be none, I think all of the stories have a certain longing in them.

In Issue 3, Ashley Hay describes a young girl’s adventure to find water sprites. It is one of those pieces where the reader possibly understands a little more than the narrator herself. Beautifully drawn, and quite sad: I was worried for the girl’s safety at times. Its companion piece is Sean Rabin’s Old Gods.  A slightly mad, or perhaps maddened, man fills his apartment with books and attempts to deal with his noisy neighbours. It is a paean to both reading and books. Those who cherish a peaceful spot to read will enjoy the protagonist’s unintended revenge.

Two Peter Carey short story winners feature in Issue 4.  Catherine Padmore’s  To Whom it May Concern describes a woman’s reaction to an unexpected email.  Her history and her memories are beautifully evoked. But the story that has stayed with me the longest is  Cameron Weston’s. It is, I am glad to say, a story in which nothing much happens except that a writer falls a little in love with a pigeon. Writing can be a type of yearning, and I think Weston captures that here.

And no matter that I find myself without the time for yearning, or longing, or getting much done at all from the list of things I really want to do. There has been time for a little reading.  And that is a blessing in itself.

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Perfume, Rain, and Chaos. Two New Stories from RAF.

There are no super powers in the latest Review of Australian Fiction, but each of the main characters possess an extraordinary ability.

Do you remember Patrick Suskind’s novel Perfume? What if the protagonist had been somewhat less psychopathic (though as completely self-obsessed) and had become trapped in the kind of corporate dullness that ruins many men? And what if you had got to hear from his wife? Equally as gifted, but in a very different way. This is the scenario that underpins  Anna  Tambour and Simon Brown’s Joy. I don’t think it gives away too much to say this is not a happy marriage.

But Laura E. Goodin has a happier view of human nature. She imagines a very wet Australia in Water Cools Not Love.  This  is a story set around cricket and climate change and chaos theory, and it is, believe it or not, a very funny piece. I’m glad to see the phrase, ‘Yeah, no, I’m not real pleased,’ will persistent into Australia’s extraordinarily wet future.