The Sleepers Almanac 2007: The Family
you meet her,
you will notice her absence in every room afterwards "
Reviewed by Petra Fromm
been a rumour doing the rounds over the past few years: the short
story is dead – last seen floating belly-up somewhere off the
coastline. It seems this untimely death occurred (along with
sideburns and Moselle) sometime in the 70s or 80s. Thankfully, not
everyone pays attention to rumour, for example, the editors of Sleepers
Almanac 2007: The Family Affair. Zoe
(‘Of all the things this world is running out of, I can quite
confidently tell you, good writing’s not one of
them’) and Louise
Swinn (‘stories change lives because our lives are
determined to prove rumour not only misguided, but blatantly
Family Affair is Sleepers’ third almanac, and while
is the guiding concept, the forty authors represented here have often
taken very different approaches. After all, families are complicated,
many-headed beasts, and for some, family, the family, is as real as
the brick-veneer home in which they grew up, while others offer a
more ambiguous interpretation of what ‘family’
might mean. The
diversity makes for an interesting collection.
the quirky All
the old gods, Scott McDermott considers
employment options for redundant deities, while Steven
theft that got me here, is set in an all too
believable future. Kate Holden’s Incunabula begins
dream, and the lyrical, dreamlike quality of the prose carries the
narrative through to a grim conclusion. Emmett
extinctions in history, blurs the line between reality and
surreal, while Andy Kissane’s In my arms, and
successfully walk the fine line
between pathos and sentimentality. But on the whole, it is often the
simple stories, simply told, that are the most effective. Davina
that crowded minute, that’s where it all began,
Janice Ryan’s Alien
worlds, and Patrick Cullen’s The
easy way out, have the honesty and authenticity that for
epitomise good writing.
If three times is a
it seems The Sleepers Almanac is here to stay. Once
Arts Victoria has assisted Sleepers by funding the voices of some of
our lesser-known Australian writers. And once again, the
light-hearted editors have included sketches, comics, and the odd
list for readers to fill in between stories (design your own faith,
songs that changed YOUR life). There’s even a page to write a
letter to a pet. This edition is handsomely presented, and John
Rydie’s gorgeous cover-art will make it hard to miss. So, if
see it on a shelf, pick it up, buy it, lend it to your friends. You
could even lend it to someone in your family.
was first published in Wet
Fromm is a non-fiction editor and reviewer for Wet Ink: the
magazine of new writing.
She lives in South Australia with her
partner, Daniel, and two Oriental cats. Her current project is a
Daughters Don’t Cry,
written for the PhD
in Creative Writing at Adelaide University.
Publication Date: 2007
Amsterdam, Tony Birch, Jo Bowers, Eric
Dando, Karen Hitchcock, Alana Kelsall, Pierz
Newton-John, Mileta Rien, Janice
Stinson and Alli Barnard.
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