Always a great introduction to new authors, this short story collection is part of Get Reading!, Australia’s largest annual celebration of reading and books. There are some fabulous Australian authors included in the book; some established, some newbies.
The book programme is an Australian Government initiative aimed at promoting books and reading amongst all Australians. It is now in its 10th year. Part of the campaign is the production of a guidebook that lists 50 recommended books to read and offers people who purchase any on the list a complementary book.
10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2011
The book foreword by Sandra Yates, the Chair of Get Reading!, highlights the importance o showcasing Australian writers, some of them up and coming, others well established, all producing great stories across a multitude of genres.
Authors in the collection include Cate Kennedy, Jessica Rudd, Charlotte Wood, Bill Condon, Larissa Behrendt, James Bradley, John Birmingham, James Phelan, Miranda Darling and Caroline Overington.
The idea behind promoting a collection of diverse short stories is to appeal to many and introduce new authors to those readers who have their regular favourites and genres that they stick to. Here are some of the gems in the book:
Laminex and Mirrors by Cate Kennedy
Laminex and Mirrors by Cate Kennedy is the story of a seventeen-year-old teenager working as a cleaner in a hospital for six weeks to save up enough money to travel through Europe. She forms a sweet friendship with a dying Mr Moreton who doesn’t eat and would kill for a smoke, but she is chastised for her fraternising because she is only a cleaner. It is a wonderful short story about being content in the moment and for a brief time, feeling that the perfection of that moment will go on forever.
The Space Between Us by Larissa Behrendt
This is the heart-breaking story of a couple whose daughter has been murdered and must face up in court each day to relive the details of what has to be a parent’s worst nightmare. Told from the woman’s point of view, it looks at how each of them deals with their grief and anger, and questions how they can go on as a couple with this “space” that now exists between them.
Piñata by Jessica Rudd
The discovery of new writers is one of the joys of a short-story collection like this book. I will definitely be adding Rudd’s two novels to my list after reading Piñata. It is the story of Jude, once a well-known sculptor, who now custom makes piñatas for children’s parties. It is a messy business, and the story is a wonderful look at what goes on behind closed doors in the world of an artist; the strength that is needed to make something so lovely only to have it smashed to pieces in the blink of an eye.
There are many other wonderful stories in this collection so it comes highly recommend as a great introduction to authors you may not yet have read.
Source:10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2011 (Australian Council for the Arts, 2011, ISBN: 9780733628481, 280 pages).
My rating: ★★★★★