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review 2012-05-18 00:00
10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2011 - Larissa Behrendt,Cate Kennedy,Caroline Overington,James Bradley,James Phelan,Jessica Rudd,Charlotte Wood,John Birmingham,Bill Condon,Miranda Darling “10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2011″ is an interesting collection of Australian short stories. If I had to pick a theme, I’d say it’s about challenging life.

I picked up a copy at my local library … good karma to all fabulous local libraries … and dived in, searching for a story I wanted to review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. All the stories are strong in their own fashion, and this is a nicely varied selection, but I decided to go with Charlotte Wood’s “Nanoparticles”.

A few things drew me into the story. Firstly the writing — although because I’m a woeful reviewer, it took me a while to realise it was the writing. I was simply and unconsciously enjoying wonderful sentences like “As if you didn’t need a brain, just a big wobbly heart, soft and pink and powdery as a lump of Turkish delight.” What I consciously enjoyed first up was the setting: the sheer frustrating boredom, the constraint, of a motor registry office. From there I was hooked.

The heroine, Lisa, is well-developed and her story arcs in two merging tensions: her thoughts and the physical communal environment. The resolution (without any spoilers) worked well for me. I could believe it and that believability is proof of the story’s strength.
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