Lovitt (The Midnight Promise, 2013, etc.) presents 12 examples from Down Under that show why the first rule of fiction is “Don’t Be Boring.”
Stories about searches, like Michael Caleb Tasker’s “Thirteen Miles,” Andrew Nette’s “Postcard from Cambodia,” and Eddy Burger’s “I Hate Crime Fiction,” are good bets to hold readers’ attention. So are revenge tales, like P.M. Newton’s “The Mango Tree,” Tony Birch’s “Death Star,” and Angela Savage’s heartbreaking “The Teardrop Tattoos.” Peter Corris tempts readers with a tale of a runner looking for a comeback in “Three-Pan Creek Gift.” And Amanda O’Callaghan in “The Turn,” Leigh Redhead in “The Drover,” and Melanie Napthine in “Swimming Pool Girls” allow their readers a terrifying glimpse of the unraveling of another human being. Even two stories about the inevitable end of life—Carmel Bird’s lyrical “The Good Butler” and David Whish-Wilson’s tougher-edged “Saying Goodbye”—though unsurprising, are riveting. Lovitt’s collection does give some sense of the diversity of the Australian landscape and the determination of Australians to make the best of whatever life brings them. But in the end, it’s the power of the stories, what happens and how it happens, that best illustrates the editor’s rule.
Even fans of longer-form fiction should give this nifty collection a look.