New Australian Fiction 2020 edited by Rebecca Starford

Suzie Eisfelder

I had this anthology and the one published the previous year on my TBR pile. I might have bought them from the Kill Your Darlings website. Looking at their shop I feel that’s entirely likely. I probably bought them both in 2020 during one of our many lockdowns. And they sat innocently until recently when I was searching for some kind of fiction.

As you might know by now I adore short fiction. The people who write them are truly talented. To put so much into so few words is something I aspire to. Sadly, I’m one of those people who needs twenty words when two will do. And one of the things I love is having authors as friends. It makes it more exciting when I open a book a find their name. I knew Elizabeth Flux was talented with words, but to read one of her short stories made it more real for me.

The authors in this book are as follows:

  • Maame Blue
  • Claire G. Coleman
  • Elizabeth Flux
  • Katerina Gibson
  • Jack Kirne
  • Daria Lebedyeva
  • Donna Mazza
  • Laura McPhee-Browne
  • Sophie Overett
  • Ka Rees
  • Mirandi Riwoe
  • Mykaela Saunders
  • Laura Stortenbeker
  • Jessie Tu
  • Jack Vening
  • Madeleine Watts

This is one of those great anthologies, that will sit on my shelf beckoning me to reread. Each of the stories is good enough that several reads will not be enough. There are two stories I wish to point out as being good samples from this book.

‘The Fingerprint’ by Donna Mazza is inspired. And I know I’m writing this at the time of the Writer’s Strike in Hollywood, poor timing on my part. But, this short story would be really good in film form. It’s an idea that has turned into a wonderful story, I couldn’t help but wonder how scenes would play out in a film. Grief makes for great movies.

‘I Go To Pieces’ by Elizabeth Flux is not being written about here because I know Flux, but because the idea, and execution, of the story is just beautiful. It’s another case of grief making a great story. I love how grief makes people do odd things and this story highlights this very nicely.

What I didn’t appreciate was the cover art. Thank goodness it was only on the cover. That swirly cover art made my eyes go gaga. Being able to put the book down upside down was a real boon. Thank goodness we don’t read the book through the cover art.

Thank you to Rebecca Starford for your masterful editing. This book is one to keep for the future. In case you want to buy through Booktopia here’s a link.

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