When we were isolated
The ability to capture an existential moment as it occurs and put it into words is one of the more celebrated feats of being a writer.
Suzy Garcia is a familiar face down at Southgate, a warm personality behind the Mary Martin Books counter.
On September 1 a book of short fiction edited by her hit the shops around Australia.
Her intro to New Australian Fiction 2022 speaks of a time of great narrative tension with viruses, climate change and global catastrophes upon us.
But closer to home, she also asks “will that person text me back?”
The ability to create a narrative space in which anxiety overwhelms the desire for connection is also the stuff of story.
Garcia read more than 300 submissions for this annual anthology and those that were selected, over and over.
There is no theme to the collection and although first person narratives are the norm, the pieces all have plots, “are imaginatively detailed and take the reader into different worlds,” she said.
Short fiction offers more scope for experimentation with ideas and language. Garcia says she prefers them to novels that pad out the typical hero’s quest.
“I’m not sure we need a big pandemic book.” All the stories in this collection were written during this period “but they are not specifically about the pandemic. They touch on it”.
“They create a meaning out of a time when we were isolated and give insight into other minds and worlds.”
This is the fourth collection of short fiction published by Kill Your Darlings and the first edited by Garcia.
New Australian Fiction, Suzy Garcia (ed), Kill Your Darlings. •
Caption: Bookseller Suzy Garcia on the fiction desk.