'A woman finds her everyday life engulfed by vivid fantasies, a businessman explores new ways to deal with his rage, a young woman is stuck on a boat with a bunch of delinquents, a diary is discovered, a commune goes wrong ...
'In this captivating collection of short fiction, award-winning novelist Amanda Lohrey explores the dilemmas of modern life. Her characters find themselves caught between body and spirit, memory and desire, ambition and mortality - and they must transform themselves or be trapped.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In the magnificent opening story, "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam - and what seems at first a satire on turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. "Cartagena" provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In "Meeting Elise" an ageing New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.' (From the author's website.)
'Bookish boys and taciturn men, strong women and wayward sons, fathers and daughters, lovers and husbands, a composer and his muse, a builder-architect and his legacy - here are their stories, whole lives brought vividly into focus and so powerfully rooted in the landscape that you can almost feel the heat and the dust. His canvas is the vast Australian continent from the mysterious, glittering Valley of Lagoons behind the Great Divide in Far North Queensland, to bohemian Balmain and the Centre at Uluru, but always there are enticing glimpses of a world beyond, and the stories are tender, subtle, unsettlingly intimate. A young man going off to war tries to make sense of his place in the world he is leaving; a composer's life plays itself out as a complex domestic cantata; an accident on a hunting trip speaks volumes, which its inarticulate victim never could; and, in the funniest, most surprising story of all, a down-to-earth woman stubbornly tries to keep her feet on the ground at Ayers Rock. Malouf's men and women are together but curiously alone, looking for something they seem to have missed, or missed out on, in life, puzzling over the space they'll leave behind when the waters close over them...'
Source: Publisher's blurb.This award was known as the Steele Rudd Australian Short Story Award from 1988-2007.