"From the image of a small boy entranced by his mother's GI escort, yet still hoping for the return of a father 'missing in action', to the portrait of an adult writer trying to piece together a defining image of his late father, these outstanding stories conjure up with sharp intensity the memories and events that make a man.
"Through the unreliable layers of family archaeology, they uncover earlier, vulnerable selves, moments of innocence or shame, and unfinished business, illumined by shocking flashes of unpredictable violence and pain, or glints of sly humour. In the brilliant cornerstone story, the stuff of dreams is both real and imagined - rumoured fields of cannabis picked in secret by migrant workers, or a nightmare encounter on a dark Brisbane street. In "Night Training" a military recruit is scarred by his own complicity in a bizarre nightly ritual; and in "Sally's Story", a 'comfort' girl looks for solace of her own. Here are men and women in search of connection, or equally wary of it, whether with each other or with past selves.
"These powerfully vivid stories by a great writer range over more than a century of Australian life, from green tropical lushness to 'blacksoil country', from scrub and outback to city streets - evoking dark shadows beneath a bright sun, and lives shaped by the ghosts of history and the rhythms of unruly nature."
From the Chatto & Windus hardback edition, 2000.
The following stories were previously published elsewhere:
"Night Training" in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend Magazine, "Jacko's Reach" in A Sea Change edited by Adam Shoemaker, and "Closer" in Granta.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2001-02 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to David Malouf Page.
Last modified: April 22, 2002.