Short Stories for Long Days #3

Short Stories for Long Days #3

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Whether you have a chaotic social calendar this summer or just a chaotic mind (thanks 'ever-evolving' pandemic), we reckon short stories are the ideal reading material for these times. Here are three of our favourite collections from 2021 in the one pack.

Hold Your Fire by Chloe Wilson
Dark and dangerous, brilliantly unsettling and chillingly funny, this extraordinary debut shows us what we usually deny – the uneasy truce we make with our ruthless desires and gothic fears, and how easily it can be broken. Prize-winning author Chloe Wilson’s stories will pin you to the page.

‘Chilling, funny, and razor sharp – a writer in control every step of the way. How I relished this extraordinary and original collection.’ Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin winner for The Eye of the Sheep

The debut of an unforgettable new voice in Australian fiction, Hold Your Fire exposes the battles we wage beneath the surface.

The title story takes us into the cold war of a contemporary family: a missile-making mother doubts her husband’s guts and the steel of her son, until a playground incident escalates and brings them into the most surprising of alliances.

Needle-sharp, effortlessly surprising and beautifully controlled, every tale will pin you to the page. A young couple move into a house in which there’s been a recent murder, and fall under the spell of their peculiar, commanding neighbours. Two sisters are determined to detoxify themselves into perfection. A diver pushes herself and those around her to higher and higher leaps. Interspersed with these are lightning strikes of flash fiction: we glimpse a leopard in the apartment next door; plants grown out of a strange and miraculous soil; the spirit of a girl who’s been thrown down a well.

At each turn, Chloe Wilson offers a unique insight, a tear in the veil of our moral certainties. Her stories strip away the varnish of our decency to reveal the raw mechanics beneath.

Daddy by Emma Cline
The stories in Emma Cline's stunning first collection consider the dark corners of human experience, exploring the fault lines of power between men and women, parents and children, past and present.

'Taut, beautiful and savage' Guardian

A man travels to his son's school to deal with the fallout of a violent attack and to make sure his son will not lose his college place. But what exactly has his son done? And who is to blame?

A young woman trying to make it in LA, working in a clothes shop while taking acting classes, turns to a riskier way of making money but will be forced to confront the danger of the game she's playing.

And a family coming together for Christmas struggle to skate over the lingering darkness caused by the very ordinary brutality of a troubled husband and father.

Subtle, sophisticated and displaying an extraordinary understanding of human behaviour, these stories from the best-selling author of The Girls are unforgettable.

She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
I know lots of things now that I'm dead. Peter from Apartment Two has a spastic bladder. My former boss Morgan keeps her toenails in a gold jewellery box. My brother and his wife are trying for a baby. I always excuse myself before things get too heated.

I don't know much about my mother yet. I am waiting for grief to catch her, but she mostly seems ashamed - of her body, of what it made.

A mother cuts her daughter's hair because her own starts falling out. A woman leaves her boyfriend because he reminds her of a corpse; another undergoes brain surgery to try to live more comfortably in higher temperatures. A widow physically transforms into her husband so that she does not have to grieve.

In She Is Haunted, these renditions of the author search for recognition and connection, and, more than anything else, small moments of empathy. But in what world will she move beyond her haunted past and find compassion for herself?

With piercing insights into transnational Asian identity, intergenerational trauma and grief, the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, the inexplicable oddities of female friendship, and the love of a good dog, Paige Clark has crafted an exquisite, moving and sophisticated debut work of fiction. Full of wit and humour, She Is Haunted announces an entrancing new literary voice as contemporary as it is unique.

'A stunning collection of short stories about identity, connection and trying to make sense of our modern world. Paige Clark is a star.' Hannah-Rose Yee, journalist and writer

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