The Rip by Robert Drewe

The-Rip-by-Robert-DreweThe Rip by Robert Drewe is a beautiful collection of short stories set on the coast of Australia that looks at lives and relationships and how they can change in an instant through unexpected and sometimes dramatic events.

There are thirteen stories in The Rip and at the centre is the ocean, soothing and comforting, but in an instant, tempestuous and unforgiving; not unlike our bonds with our friends and loved ones.

In The Rip, Robert Drewe has us laughing at our ridiculousness, cringing at our desperation and saddened by the harsh cruelties of life; all the time with the underlying satire that he is loved for in Australia.

If you are new to the short story form then Drewe is a great place to start, as he is a master at it.

How many times to you hear friends say they don’t have time to read or when they try to they fall asleep a few pages into a book? Short stories are great for today’s pace of life. According to Drewe, you can start and finish a story before falling asleep at night.

FULL REVIEW
The Rip is a wonderful collection of short stories set on the Australian coastline that look at lives changed in an instant by dramatic events. There are thirteen stories in the book, all of them a single separate gem that hang together to form a perfect strand. At the centre is the ocean, soothing and comforting, but in an instant, tempestuous and unforgiving; not unlike our relationships with our friends and loved ones.

In The Rip, Robert Drewe has us laughing at our ridiculousness, cringing at our desperation and saddened by the harsh cruelties of life; all the time with the underlying satire that he is loved for in Australia.

Drewe highlights that just like a rip; our lives can change forever in an instant, especially when we are unprepared for the unexpected.

Masculine Shoes
In Masculine Shoes Drewe takes a small poke at an experienced and confident man who is taken out of his comfort zone and thrown off balance. He focuses on how caught up we can get in the details of our life and how ridiculous this can be.

Tyler Foss is a veteran Hollywood location scout for Universal Studios who has travelled to a small island off the coast of Queensland in search of an ideal tropical setting.

Drewe paints a wonderful picture of a man who is normally comfortable in his own shoes – two inch cowboy boots made from the dead skin of every type of animal – but who must settle for something else in order to fit into the beach environment, in this case it is beach-friendly yak skin sneakers.

Unfortunately for Tyler they don’t attract the women, which is normally the case, but a pack of local dogs that he latter discovers to be dingoes. When it comes to the crunch, Tyler must decide between his safety and his shoes.

Thrown into the mix is Mia McKenzie, a cuisine art director renown for her styling of cephalopods, especially octopus. Tyler’s attempt to woo her is complicated by his reluctance to leave his room (due to the dingoes) and his footwear dilemma (women’s flip flops being the only thing left only the island to wear).

Stones Like Hearts
This story is set on the wild south-west coast of Western Australia where the Southern and Indian oceans meet.

On Shelley Beach, Cape Leewin we meet a young girl named Imogen who likes to collect stones in the shape of hearts and her mother Brigid who has come to toss her wedding ring into the ocean following the discovery of her husband’s infidelity.

When the couple unexpectedly come across a group of people who have discovered a body washed up on the shore, Brigid’s priorities change in an instant – she wants to protect her daughter from the harsh realities of life.

It is only in the final scene when they are a safe distance away in a café that Brigid realises she is still wearing her ring, and in fact seeking comfort in it. What is important to her has changed in a blink.

The Rip
The story The Rip takes us through a range of emotions and highlights the harshness and unforgiving nature of the sea.

A surfer has been taken by a shark the day before John Bingham and his daughter Sophie find themselves combing a beach on the west coast.

In their wanderings they come across a ridiculous couple who are playing newshound and cameraman and reporting on the dangers of the ocean while at the same time not paying heed to what is going on about them. When the wife is swept up in a rip it is John who must do the rescuing.

Robert Drewe is a much-loved Australian author who has created a set of stories that pick us up and take us on a short journey, most unexpected. Just like a rip I guess.

The Rip (Penguin Books, 2008, ISBN: 9780143009665, 216 pages).

My rating: ★★★★

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *