In the Prose Bundle: 2
Hailman (2021), by Leanne Radojkovich. What to do when the past crashes into the present? It can happen anywhere: in carports and kitchens – on stairwells – at the airport. Set in Aotearoa New Zealand’s small towns and cities, these ten stories by Leanne Radojkovich dissect moments where the protagonists are confronted with truth and must decide whether to stand, fall or run. Leanne Radojkovich’s writing is full of crisp, precise details, and often contains a sting. In Hailman, the follow-up to her 2017 debut First fox, the stories still have a dreamy, mythic feel, but are now rooted more firmly in the dusty suburbs and countryside of Aotearoa.
“All the rest home doors have name tags. Mum’s has a typo: Irina. Although Irena isn’t her born name – only she knows what that is, and she’s never told, never discussed the war. Says she was born the day she reached Wellington harbour with papers stating she was a ten-year-old Polish orphan. Dad said not to ask about the European years, and my brother and I never did. Now they’ve both died and there’s just me and Mum, and she’s in a rest home with a mis-spelled name on her door.”
Page count: 104 | Publication date: 14 May 2021 | ISBN: 9781912915705
Postcard Stories, by Jan Carson, with illustrations by Benjamin Phillips.
Every day in 2015, Jan Carson wrote a story on the back of a postcard and mailed it to a friend. In this collection of highlights, Carson presents a panoramic view of contemporary Belfast – its streets, coffee shops, museums and airports – as series of small but perfectly-formed snapshots of her home.
“The bride is small at the top and wider at the bottom like a pyramid, or a toilet paper lady. Coming in or out of a room she must turn sideways to accommodate her train. The bride is named Catherine but looking at her it is hard not to assume she has been called Cathy in youth and Cat since the age of seventeen. She is at least thirty-seven now but her dress is ten years younger.
There is a stain like the Red Hand of Ulster simmering across the backside of this dress as if the bride has sat herself down in something bloody, as if she has thrown red wine over her own shoulder in some strange parody of that lucky salt ritual, as if someone with no sense (her father perhaps) has placed his hand on her and given her a good hefty shove into the next chapter.”
Page count: 80 | Publication date: 16th May 2017 | ISBN: 9781910139684
First fox (2017), by Leanne Radojkovich. The stories in First fox offer an everyday world tinged with the dreamlike qualities of fairy tales. Radojkovich explores the complex dynamics of families with a blend of dry wit and startling imagery. Disappointments and consolations meet with fantastical moments, winding their way into the realm of possibility.
“The girl brought her cups of tea and eggs on toast, and emptied the chamber pot. She had to bike to the store in-between taking orders. The garden went to seed. The girl began talking to the kettle.“
Page count: 64 | Publication date: 16th May 2017 | Paperback ISBN 9781910139707