November 2007

Arts & Letters

‘Mini Shots’ 1–9 by various authors

By Carlie Jennings

Violence, obsession, addiction: these themes thread together the new Mini Shots series, with often disquieting results. Each pocket-sized story - individually bound with striking cover art by Melbourne photographer Bronwen Hyde - is absorbing, but taken together they tend to the bleak. In Emmett Stinson’s ‘Something So Helpless’, David rallies against a seedy society of hostility and decay to rescue a kitten: “He was Pandora in reverse - this shoebox contained the last bit of innocence in existence. It was the evil of the world that was trying to get in.” David’s life is claustrophobic and cruel; there are stabbings and shootings on his doorstep. His concern for the kitten reassures us that he isn’t wholly inured to it all.

In Lucy Lawson’s ‘Juice’, two lovers try to hold a toxic world at (matchstick-thin) arm’s length through fasting. Rachael quarantines herself from “plastics, power lines and pesticides” in a claw-footed porcelain bathtub in the backyard. In their self-imposed isolation, these characters are “half-awake”, “unbalanced”, “dizzy” - wanting finally to be “empty of everything”.  Similarly, the characters in Ed Moreno’s ‘Pine’ long for escape. Theirs is an olfactory journey, where pine-perfumed disinfectant only thinly veils the stink of a less salubrious reality: grubby video booths in a strip club, drugs, desperation. Riikka longs for the warmth and familiarity of her “gran’s jasmine-scented perfume” and resents the “cardboard pine tree dangling from the rear-view mirror”, which has “lost all its scent”.

But there is, happily, also some hope: in Sarah Jansen’s ‘Dragon Dust’, Velvet itches and chafes against a world where she is tethered to the “hunger and noise and dirt” of her children, moored to a town in which the “wooden houses and buildings all seemed directed inwards”. She escapes to the hills to breathe and swing her arms “in wide, exaggerated arcs”, where she is finally, gloriously, released.

Each Mini Shot resonates in its own haunting key. These stories, all of them by emerging Australian authors and released across the year by a small independent publishing house, are often raw and demanding: ten-minute fiction with a lot to say.

Cover: November 2007

November 2007

From the front page

2009 forever

Blame the Coalition, not the Greens, for Australia’s decade of climate dysfunction

Cover of ‘The Testaments’

‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

The Booker Prize–winning sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is an exhilarating thriller from the “wiliest writer alive”

Image from ‘The Report’

Interrogating the interrogators: ‘The Report’

This tale of the investigation into CIA torture during the War on Terror places too much faith in government procedure

Image of police station in Alice Springs with red handprints on wall

What really happened at Yuendumu?

The promised inquiries must answer the biggest questions raised by the police shooting of an Aboriginal man


In This Issue

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Redmond Barry & Edward Kelly

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Checkmate

‘Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird’ by Andrew D Blechman

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Lazarus taxa


More in Arts & Letters

Image of Jia Tolentino

Radical ambiguity: Jia Tolentino, Rachel Cusk and Leslie Jamison

The essay collections ‘Trick Mirror’, ‘Coventry’ and ‘Make It Scream, Make It Burn’ offer doubt and paradoxical thinking in the face of algorithmic perfectionism

Image of Archie Roach

A way home: Archie Roach

The writer of ‘Took the Children Away’ delivers a memoir of his Stolen Generations childhood and an album of formative songs

Image from ‘The Irishman’

Late style: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’

Reuniting with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci, the acclaimed director has delivered less of a Mob film than a morality play

Still from Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’

No one’s laughing now: Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’

A gripping psychological study of psychosis offers a surprising change of pace in the superhero genre


More in Noted

Image of ‘Wild River, Florida’

‘Civilization: The Way We Live Now’

The beautiful photographs of often grim subjects in NGV Australia’s exhibition raise questions over the medium’s power to critique

Cover of ‘The Testaments’

‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

The Booker Prize–winning sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is an exhilarating thriller from the “wiliest writer alive”

Cover of ‘The Man Who Saw Everything’

‘The Man Who Saw Everything’ by Deborah Levy

The British author experiments with a narrative structure that collapses past and present

‘The weekend’ cover

‘The Weekend’ by Charlotte Wood

The Stella Prize–winner returns with a stylish character study of women surprised by age


Read on

Image from ‘The Report’

Interrogating the interrogators: ‘The Report’

This tale of the investigation into CIA torture during the War on Terror places too much faith in government procedure

Image of police station in Alice Springs with red handprints on wall

What really happened at Yuendumu?

The promised inquiries must answer the biggest questions raised by the police shooting of an Aboriginal man

You could drive a person crazy: Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’

Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are at their career best in this bittersweet tale of divorce

Blockade tactics

Inside the 2019 IMARC protests


×
×