‘A woman adjusts to her new urban landscape.
A slaughterman comes to terms with the death of his wife.
A rodeo ringer blows into town, wreaking havoc.’
Skyglow by Leslie Thiele, released in October, is a gorgeous short story anthology borne of Western Australia’s South-West. The stories told throughout the anthology are polished into pearls of the craft. The settings and characters are a formidable presence throughout the work; each different from the last, but all a strong projection of thought and skill. I was mesmerised by the delicacy of the writing. There is a sensitivity that threads these stories together, and as Thiele works these characters into life it is apparent that empathy underscores each one.
These stories remind us of our own truth and to live authentic lives. It is a reminder that home is not always a place but in those with whom we find companionship. Though the stories are delicate works, they are neither bashful nor timid; when the death of a sister and a dream are mistaken for a swinging back door, or the days of the week and a lifetime lived are lost even to memory. These stories aren’t afraid to clobber the reader.
However, not all life lessons are learnt in crises. Sometimes they are found in patient, fatherly hands shaped in love hearts. Sometimes it’s the discovery of that simple thing you’ve always done that has made living worthwhile. Skyglow is a guide home to wherever and whomever that might be, and a reassurance that even when place and companion seem unclear, to know yourself is its own reward: ‘it was enough. It was more than enough. For now, it was everything.’
I have battered the pages of my copy with orange tabs marking my favourite stories and my favourite quotes (of which there are many). From front to back, Skyglow is a pleasure to read. It is seamlessly profound and the mark of true literary talent.