Good Reading : October 2017
GENERAL FICTION ird Country Clair Cla e Aman M e find mo to t Cla sho this dau ras ura AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR any of us feel the need to share a traumatic personal ent, but it’s often difficult to find the right words, the right moment or the right person to tell. Many characters in Claire Aman’s collection of short stories struggle with this problem in the setting of ural Australia. While driving his young daughters home across the rassy plains of Queensland, en about their mother’s death. With every day that he postpones the task, the prospect of it becomes increasingly difficult and painful. He yearns for a closer relationship with them. en about In ‘What I Didn’t Put in My Speech’, Jude knows that she omitted the shocking story about her and her cousin that she really wanted to share. She later reveals the secret to a good friend. A variety of birds – both free and caged – illustrate the human condition. The times when thoughts cannot be shared are analogous to feelings of being caged, but when relationships are bridged there is an expansive feeling of freedom. The brother of Neila breeds budgies, and she knows that birds – like people – can become friends if you teach them to trust you. In the last story, the Chinese legend of Owl, who gazes sadly at his friend the Moon, now so far away, introduces the tale of the woman whose little sister has died. She longs for a friend tender enough to share her grief. Unlike a lot of short stories that end in sadness and desperation, many of these tales are entertaining, and some of them have a light tone and humorous endings. A cockatoo’s cage offers an unusual place for a mother to hide her son from the police. But the floodwaters are rising and she has to evacuate. ‘Weekend of Crime’, interspersed with humour and clever political innuendoes, has the mayor of Grafton and the local newspaper doing a smear-and-fear campaign to win more votes. I enjoyed the variety of emotions and the rich imagery in Aman’s anthology. ★★★★ Text $29.99 Reviewed by Judith Grace publishing.nla.gov.au Available in bookshops nationally Step back into a decade that didn’t just swing— it twisted, stomped and screamed.