Top positive review
I know you think you saw him first, but I'm pretty sure it was me...
on 24 June 2012
Page 1. A Man stands on a suburban street holding a hosepipe. Floating down the street is a woman in a boat. The boat has its own miniature cloud which hovers precisely over the section of the boat where flowers are arrayed on the gunwhale. The cloud waters the flowers. There is a seagull standing at the stern of the boat. The man on the street watches the woman approach, his paltry hosepipe cannot hope to bring relief to the baking grass. The woman rows serenely on.
Page 8. Eric: the exchange student who came to stay and the wonderful gift that he left.
Page 24. broken toys. The story of the man in the diving suit who spoke Japanese. During which he is taken to the house of Mrs Bad News after the children do the Special Handshake of Unbreakable agreement.
Page 28. Distant Rain: a poem. Includes the words: "the truth is that unread poetry will almost always be just that. Doomed to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia"
Page 36. undertow - a story about a dugong (a plant-eating mammal that lives in the Indian Ocean).
Page 40. grandpa's story: the story of the wedding on the other side of the hill.
Page 65. Stick figures. Young children sometimes dress them in old clothes and hats as if they were dolls or scarecrows, and are always scolded by parents, whose reasons are unclear. `Just don't,' they say sternly. Some older boys take great delight in beating them with baseball bats, golf clubs, or whatever is at hand, including the victim's snapped off limbs. With careful aim a good strike will send the head - a faceless clod of earth - flying high into the air. The body remains passively upright until smashed to splinters between heels and asphalt.
Page 80. wake, which begins: "on a cold night last winter there was a fire at the house of a man who only days before had beaten his dog to death."
Page 92. night of the turtle rescue - which ends with the words "keep going, keep going, keep going."
The pictures are all and everything. The words don't really explain them, because this is outer suburbia where a dog may speak French, a cat may be a saint, and a TV may grow arms to hold the very small children placed in front of it.
Disturbing, surreal, compulsively alarming, mischievous, beautiful and strange.