Chic (adj.): a half-refurbished ground floor space in a former East German apartment block.
Austere plaster swimming with granite and silver adornments, dub music playing softly from speaker cones, retro phones converted into candle holders and pink shag in the toilets – Irving hated this restaurant. The food was overpriced and unexciting, the cocktails nauseatingly pretentious (anyone for a Strawbunny Chokehold?), and the patrons were invariably overdressed proles with huge teeth, or chihuahua hugging metrosexuals with their dress pants on backwards. That’s why, out of all the upmarket promi-troughs, it was Charlotte’s favourite. Continue reading “Immer 88”
Finn spat into the lenses of his binoculars, wiped them dry, then look down into the harbour.
From the red haze on the southern horizon, the coast ran cramped and arched between the dust and sea like a green wire. There were headlands, the most extreme of which formed the southern end of the bay, a prism of forest and stone that stretched out into the sea like a chain of pyramids. The tip they called the Nail and there was a cabin and a fire they would tend to at night to warn ships away from the bluffs, or to give those who had been driven into the rocks by the relentless northern gusts, those who survived, a point of reference on the hazardous climb from the shoreline. The fire had had not burned in months.
From the sea the face of the Nail resembled the face of a man, old and unwashed, with hollow eyes. Fringes of scrub grew in thick clusters around the promontory, tumbling around deep fissures and rocky orifices, a slab of sandstone shot out parallel to the ocean’s surface and sniffed at the winds, and the roots of trees, dead and living, fed into the shallows, stirring with each flow of air and water. Finn, who had not often look upon it, fancied it to be the face of someone he’d once known, his father, or a priest, perhaps. The personalities changed with every season, each new tide of the weather lending its own character to the vegetation to the jagged coastline. Every storm and fire and flood a new wrinkle on the face of Bendethera. Continue reading “Diving Bendethera”
The New Yorker is calling for visual ideas for the classic Casablanca cliché ‘We will always have Paris‘. Here’s your chance to get on their slush pile!
I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
One of the most enjoyable things about learning the discipline of writing is studying those you admire; following the authors who inspire you and whose writing you would walk on fire to be able to emulate. Reading acquires a new dimension as you study their methods, their choice of language and themes, and begin to understand why you love their work.
You might also want to talk about it. Heaping praise on Australian author Tim Winton, at least for me, is easy. I identify with his settings and characters, and I think his prose is magic.
But when may a new writer stand up and level harsh criticism at an ‘acclaimed’ work of fiction with impunity? Which credentials are required? If Mark Twain says he has no right, then who am I to say that I loathed [insert book title from Man Booker prize nominee here]? Who am I to judge? Continue reading “Crawling from the abyss of hypocrisy: Liberate your inner literary critic”
The sound is proximate and consequential, like the crack of bone.
He wakes up and curls into a ball. He waits for a pain to tell him he’s broken something, or a betraying silence that says he has finally crushed his wife to death.
When his eyes adjust to the moonlight he realizes he is not in bed, but in the desert, alone and naked, and half-buried in sand. He raises his knees and finds a bowl of felled and splintered trees. Continue reading “Measuring Stars”
Mr Masao Takeshi, vice president of the Ryou Corporation, squinted through the curtains of the Rialto Hotel’s breakfast room.
Outside, the brilliant May sun glittered off the water onto the buildings, filling the canal with a thousand colours. Tourists scampered over the bridge, pointing at boats, taking photos, and avoiding the Albanian scam artists at the foot of the stairs next to the stained glass boutiques. A bell rang from some distant square. Takeshi looked at his watch.
“Everyone away from the windows,” Takeshi said and straightened his Italian silk tie. “Mr Ryou’s gondola is arriving. I want everything tripled-checked, quadruple-checked… and whatever comes after that. Cutlery, the guestbook, newspapers, salami… you all know what happens now. Yukio, is the kitchen staff on standby?”
A small man with a goatee beard put a finger in his ear, then nodded.
“And the guests, Miss Minako?”
Miss Minako cocked her head. She also nodded.
“Good. Now I want you all out of sight when Mr Ryou arrives. Invisible. In this world you are from this minute on ghosts. We’ve worked too hard to fail now. I don’t need to remind you of what happened in Toledo.” Continue reading “The Man Maketh the Journey”
As Karen pushes through the revolving door the air begins to thicken with the tang of incense and soy sauce.
Sparkling neon lights flash blue and green and yellow messages against her white-shorts and t-shirt; in bold, red characters, a sign forbids a certain action, of which she is unsure—not to park, or spit, or linger too long in one place perhaps. She thrusts her ticket into her pocket and edges into the current of bodies. Continue reading “A Breath of Fresh Tokyo”
The sun was pinned to the horizon and flushed the sky orange like an electric stove.
Ray was loading the last of the gear from the landing. He squinted at each bundle to measure its dimensions and weight, before tossing it into the boat.
“John says the weather will be calm ‘til four. Looks alright to me. We’ll be out over the port, up to the north there, across from the headland. There’s a trough full of bream and snapper out there John says. He and the bigger boats aren’t allowed along, they’re out further where the billfish are and we’re not after them.” Ray dropped the plastic tackle box onto the floor with a muted thud. The box’s claps popped open, releasing a spurt of lead sinkers over the ribs of the boat’s floor. “Damn it!” he spat and as he crouched down his brown toes splayed in his rubber flip-flops.
“Leave that and help me get these. I told you to close the thing properly if you take things out. Didn’t I tell you?” Continue reading “Sky fishing”