Any fan of good fiction should check out the inaugural edition of Eatbooks, the brain-child of Christopher Currie and Krissy Kneen. The two emerging authors and literary-lovers worked together at Brisbane’s Avid Reader Bookshop. The Journal and Eatbooks website are an effort to publish and showcase quality literary fiction, which is not being published enough by the mainstream publishing houses.
The five stories in this journal are eclectic and enjoyable, ranging from the emotionally complex to the light-hearted.
N.A. Bourke’s A Feather on the Breath of God is a highly stylised sci-fi or magic realist text. Rupetta is an immortal servant to the women of the Reni family. Each woman, if they so desire, may also be passed on the key to her heart. The story contains both tradition and technology, and beautifully chronicles the sadness of transience. Rupetta could be symbolic of a Mother Earth figure – men are not akin to her secrets, which leads to sickness, decay and destruction.
Romy Ash’s Driftwood is my favourite in the collection. It could be a personal preference in that she expresses so much of what I attempt to in my fiction. It features a 21 year old woman, supermarket employee, crying for meaning in a time and place where she feels disillusioned. How does one end up so numb, where every reality is distracted by the need or want of something more, something else? At the same time, she feels a kind of guilt for her ungratefulness. A subtle and beautiful story.
Christopher Currie displays his literary prowess in Fingernail Moon. His descriptions are overwhelmingly vivid and absorbing. I found myself immediately returning to the beginning after finishing the story. It is an interweaving of connected character stories, shadowed with foreboding and the unfolding of unspeakables. It is about ‘…the dark hearts that beat beneath a family’s skin’ (p. 9), loss, and promises.
In Good People, Krissy Kneen chronicles a relationship, beginning with the aftermath of a semi-violent incident. Questions are put forth about what it means to be a good person, what is right or wrong when two people can be so different. How can one measure oneself? It is also about blurred perceptions, being open and at a distance, and then being intimate and close. Everyone has noticeable flaws up close. Despite the brevity of the short-story form, the female characters are vividly drawn.
Adrian Hallewell’s The Best Friend is the lightest story of the load, but incredibly touching. It is laugh-out-loud funny in parts and there is a beautiful tinge of pathos for the old man character. Alone, he hears his dog begin to talk, it tells him ‘you’re crazy’. The way he deals with it is believable and humorous. The ending is sweet and tickles the childhood imagination – the part of you that wishes Santa Claus could be real.
Overall, the quality of the stories in the first collection has set a precedent. Make sure you have a look around the site when you download it. There is a forum for lit-lovers as well.
Support literary fiction, Aus fiction, small press, and emerging Australian authors. Give Eatbooks a go.