Book review: The Secret Lives of Men

BOOK: The Secret Lives of Men
AUTHOR: Georgia Blain
PUBLISHER: Scribe
RRP: $27.95


 

THIS is a truly wonderful collection of short stories by this Australian writer.

Each story is a perfectly-formed and polished vignette about a different aspect of life in contemporary Australia.

Each of the 13 is necessarily succinct yet each conveys insight and intuition.

The subjects and themes embrace the ordinary and the normal.

The richness of human nature is examined - our motivations, desires and limitations.

Most characters are troubled souls who experience brief involvements with painful and often very confused periods in their lives and their experiences are portrayed with sympathy.

Despite the calamities that befall her protagonists - infidelity, suicide, divorce, illness and death - the author nevertheless refrains from the use of melodrama.

In the title story, a woman who is visiting her hometown learns of the death of her first boyfriend and discovers a long-held secret.

Another story, The Other Side of the River, relates the tale of a woman's spontaneous decision about her future which has devastating consequences for her family.

The author's stark and commanding prose provides an uncompromising collection of stories which will engage readers of all tastes.


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