… speaking of small presses… I went to the launch of Lizard Skin Press’ latest short story anthology at The Coffee Pot in Adelaide recently. This is an interesting diverse collection of (mostly South Australian) writers. I’ll just talk about the personal stand-outs.
Khail Jureidini’s autobiographical (he told me later) unfinished symphony is more like a 13 page prose-poem than a short story with Khail’s wonderful invented vocabulary and wordplay – although more narrative-driven than his usual poetics. There’s no real resolution – but life’s like that isn’t it? Khail’s life reminds me of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, Forrest Gump and Kafka’s The Trial all rolled into one. He just happened to be in Darwin on the night of Cyclone Tracy and spent time in the infamous Chelmsford ‘Deep Sleep Clinic’, although these are only alluded to in unfinished symphony (material for future short stories perhaps?)
Melanie Pryor’s The Girl in the Cold has an interesting twist. Sharon Kernot’s A Vanilla Spider is chilling. The horror is understated and the implied threat is consequently even more powerful.
Other favorites were Alex by Alex Matthews, Promise by Connie Berg and Yesterday by Juliet A Payne for their well-drawn characters and Boy, falling by Jane Turner Goldsmith for its empathy and strong internal dialogue.
Finally, Daniel Watson’s 8 a.m., a paean to the perfect breakfast and simple pleasures after hospitalization.
There are a few typos in the book (‘Blue Healer’ really irritates the crap out of a pedant like me) but overall this is a great little collection attractively presented.
May there be many more!