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A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories

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Paperback
Published: February 2020
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Category: Fiction / Fiction: Adult
BIC Subject: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Published By: Black Inc
 
Published: 04-Feb-2020
Format: Paperback, 224 pages, 0x0mm
ISBN: 9781760641283
Stock Code: 0641283
Product Description
 
This brilliant collection mixes the storytelling originality of George Saunders and Lydia Davis with a sensibility all its own, taking the reader on an extraordinary tour of old and new Australia - and into a very frightening future.

A woman on a passenger ship in 1958 gets involved with a young, wild Barry Humphries. A man looks back to the 1970s, and his time as a member of Australia's least competent scout troop. In 1988, a teenage boy recalls his sexual initiation, out on the tanbark. In 2015, two sisters text in Kmart about how to manage their irascible, isolated mum.

Then, in the near future, a racist demagogue - a kind of Australian Trump - talks to the press the day after his electoral triumph. And as the cities heat up and lose their water, a lady from one of the 'better suburbs' makes every effort to get her family into a gated community.

This is Australia, in all its glories and its foibles - and its insularity and fear. These stories are a reflection of where we are now, and where we may be headed. Bitingly satirical, outstandingly original and written in a remarkable range of voices, A Couple of Things Before the End is a stand-out fiction debut of 2020.This brilliant collection mixes the storytelling originality of George Saunders and Lydia Davis with a sensibility all its own, taking the reader on an extraordinary tour of old and new Australia - and into a very frightening future.

A woman on a passenger ship in 1958 gets involved with a young, wild Barry Humphries. A man looks back to the 1970s, and his time as a member of Australia's least competent scout troop. In 1988, a teenage boy recalls his sexual initiation, out on the tanbark. In 2015, two sisters text in Kmart about how to manage their irascible, isolated mum.

Then, in the near future, a racist demagogue - a kind of Australian Trump - talks to the press the day after his electoral triumph. And as the cities heat up and lose their water, a lady from one of the 'better suburbs' makes every effort to get her family into a gated community.

This is Australia, in all its glories and its foibles - and its insularity and fear. These stories are a reflection of where we are now, and where we may be headed. Bitingly satirical, outstandingly original and written in a remarkable range of voices, A Couple of Things Before the End is a stand-out fiction debut of 2020.
Sean O'Beirne is a Melbourne bookseller and critic. He grew up in Melbourne's outer suburbs, and studied arts, law and acting. This is his first book.