This anthology edited by Estelle Tang is a collection of stories submitted to the annual Margaret River Short Story Competition. Twenty-four stories make up this collection that includes works by internationally and nationally prize winning short story writers. The winning story, "e;Lost Boy"e; is the story of a mysterious boy who is seen at a restaurant, stealing leftover food. The story is at one level mysterious and at another real and haunting. Editor, Estelle says, 'there was such a sense of control to the story, the writer knew exactly what she wanted to do with the scenes, and achieved it superbly'. The people we are born to know and the places we are born to see fix us in their sights, and that's it. That's where our stories come from. The stories here are all charged with a human affinity that reaches through the page.We might note how geography shapes them, and so heed the callous colonialism of mid twentieth-century Sri Lanka, as seen in Michelle Wright's 'To Call Things by Their Right Name', or note the different kinds of mystery Australian visitors to Laos might find, as Beverley Lello evokes in 'Scenes from a Disappearance'. Other stories are circumscribed by the strictures and saving graces of family, which can create such specific, affecting universes. Take the child narrator of Rosemary Allen's 'What Has to Be Done', whose observations unwittingly create rents in the fabric of her familial life. And while the bizarre behaviour of a lost man in Susan McCreery's 'The Uninvited' alienates and frightens us, his understanding of parenthood humanises him once more. We're guided to still smaller spheres elsewhere in the collection: think of the atmosphere that produces its own pull between two people in conversation, as in Jeannie Haughton's 'Weight-Bearing Exercise', or a girl communing with such an elemental force as the weather, which we witness in Cassie Hamer's 'Glory Season'.
Lost Boy & other stories
Helm Wood Pty Ltd trading as Margaret River Press