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Standing By

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181 pages2 hours

Summary

Thirty-one award-winning stories fill these entertaining pages. Written by Australian and international authors these stories explore Australian culture — sometimes funny, often poignant, occasionally unsettling, this anthology showcases the best of Australian contemporary short story writing.

Water slammed through the back door and roared down the hall. A foaming mass of brown filled the space and continued tumbling towards her. She turned and ran, liquid licking her heels. The water wall chased her out of the house into the front yard. She latched herself to the mango tree standing stiffly in the corner, and felt the water climb her legs with fierce intentions. The rough trunk dug into her arms as her grip tightened. The water continued climbing.
— from "Flood Day" by Tamara Lennon

My mother stood in the doorway that evening after dinner. She loomed magnificent like an oversized fertility goddess, serving to block the dim hallway light shining from the bathroom across the hall. Her faded floral nightie hung like an old ladies’ curtain over her prickly shins and clung around her sagging tummy, which was the only bodily part protruding into my bedroom sanctuary.
— from "Standing By" by E.C. Thorpe

When Jack came home from work that evening Bridie’s plan had firmed in her mind but she knew to bide her time. The leftover boiled potatoes from the night before had been cut into pieces and were now sizzling in a pan of dripping with bits of bacon rind that she’d saved from breakfast. She had boiled skinny green beans, the last few stragglers from the garden. Jack waited at the table, his knife and fork already in his hands.
“You kids come on. Your father’s waiting.”
The steak didn’t stretch to five people and so, as often happened, Bridie went without.
“No, I don’t feel like meat tonight,” she declared, fooling no-one.
— from "The Man of the House" by Gabrielle Gardner

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