My first response is to say, “It’s a great Aussie yarn!” and yet it is so much more. We anticipated a story about a car accident but discovered again, so much more. With his elegant style, Steve brings a community to life on Australian soil. It has a 1970’s or 1980’s feel about it and weaves between country, town and city life with a trip to Europe in the middle. Through Marty’s eyes, our hopeless but endearing protagonist, you see people grapple with relationships and the desire for them, cope with dreams and dashed dreams. The collective chaos of life seems to collide on these pages with a car accident in the background. I realised as I read, it reminded me of the Australia of just yesterday, the one I fell in love with because today it is truly changed. Thanks Steve for an intriguing and classy book which provided our book club with excellent ongoing discussions.
Stephen Newman has written a story of someone trying to navigate his feelings and emotions with no road map from the other male relatives around him. Beautifully written, Newman draws us a picture of the quintessential Australian male trying to come to terms with loss and grief unimaginable.
Floyd Collins sat on the hood of his Dodge putting on his walking shoes. The “hood” – a much more appropriate name to describe the flap that opens up to the engine than what the English would refer to as the “bonnet”, which is what you put on the head of a one year old English girl who’ll grow up to marry a gentleman of the aristocracy.
One wet, cold September night some years ago now, a boy was born. It was late, his father, a veterinary surgeon, was out tending to another birth, a cow, in a time when it was hardly expected that a father would be in attendance for the birth of his child, he would be much more likely to be asleep, or having drinks with friends, than with his wife about to give birth.
Patrick Allen bent down, the brown paper bag lay on the ground in full view. He picked it up and he looked inside. It was money, a lot of money, crisp new notes. Someone’s betting money Patrick thought. Maybe it’s ill gotten gains, he had no way of knowing, it was a racetrack after all and gains were there to be had, both ill gotten and legitimate.