In this collection of stories, three generations of the McGinty family cope with distance and intimacy, each linked narrative yielding a fragment of knowledge that lends insight into the characters and their circumstances. Veida Dehmlow's lilting voice provides color to the setting of Ardara, a sheep farm in New South Wales where the rugged environment provides a stark backdrop to the family's complicated relationships. Dehmlow's natural, unaffected performance eases out the melancholy notes of the family's history and imbues warmth and richness to the descriptions of the open landscape, allowing the listener to identify with the characters' intense connection to Ardara.
In the tradition of Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women, Gayla Reid's brilliant new effort, Closer Apart, is filled with striking images and evocative descriptions. Following her critically acclaimed novel All the Seas of the World, Closer Apart is a collection of linked stories depicting three generations of the McGinty family.
In the opening story, "Almost Touching", we are introduced to Frank, whose affair with Violet brings his own marriage to Millicent into relief and sheds light on just how "close and apart" the two women are. "His Wet Bare Feet" echoes the original Tarcisius and Veronica story in a modern-day tale of a girl who travels to Rome to be a nun. "It Comes of Itself" tells the story of a touching, nonverbal relationship between a young woman and an Italian POW. And "That Polio Kid's Come Back" is the quiet story that threads heartbreaking optimism with a streak of darkness represented by the angel of death.
Another stunning work from an enormously talented writer.