Swimming in Silk
"'Under a star-soaked sky he ran miles and miles along a dusty road. Behind him, on the horizon, over the ocean, a massive storm glittered and boiled.'
"Brilliant skies, sudden storms, black nights and a ramshackle house that is disintergrating into the rainforest. Sheltering from their pasts, Cliff, Susan, Daniel and Jade experience a few oddly idyllic days and nights together in the small coastal town two of them call home and to which the others have returned.
"Daniel has arrived fragile from a broken relationship and failed dreams. Susan has left her husband and the city for the comfort of her childhood memories. Cliff and Jade, together for now, live out their fantasies. There seems no reason for these days to end until, for each of them, the past breaks through into the present and the strength of desires, friendships, loyalties and blood-ties are tested.
"Swimming in Silk is an extraordinarily evocative and sensual novel about the mysterious and intricate relationship between people, the elements, and the land in which they live."
Cliff reeled along the road and followed a light thta apepared regularly and magically from the belly of a black cloud. He knew his house lay somewhere between the ocean and the next step he took. Easy.
The night was warm and his glass slid along his nose until he could barely see where he was going. The country quiet rang in his ears after the din and clamour of the hotel. He could hear his feet hitting the ground but couldn't place the rhythm they made. He heard someone laugh close by and the sound curled into his ears and tickled something there. He stopped and peered through the trees. He could smell something sweet and strange in the air, as if a pair of giddy clowns had, moments before, blended secret ingredients and disappeared themselves in a puff of grasy smoke. He turned off the road and followed the smell and the memory of the laugh. He saw a barbed-wire fence and stopped himself before his body tried to hurdle it. He found a post and, carefully, supporting himself with a shaking arm, climbed the rungs of wire. When he was able to he jumped and sailed free of the fence, but as he reached the ground, his legs buckled and he fell awkwardly on his side and the sir was knocked from his chest. He picked himself up, took a deep and slow breath, but felt no pain. He continued walking until the ground sloped down into a gully and he made a path for himself beside the creek he found at the bottom of it. The air around him smelt of earth and rain. He set his feet as carefully as he could and walked until the banks widened and circled a waterhole. He stopped under a tree and squatted and held his knees in his hands.
From the Allen and Unwin paperback edition, 1995
This novel was the winner of the Australian/Vogel Award in 1994.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Larrikin Literature Page.
Last modified: July 15, 2001.