The last issue of Hit and Miss is here, can you believe it? What will we do with our time now that we can’t wince over other people’s bruises? How will we know things about fresh meat without being a bit stalkerish and asking strange questions? And has anyone actually solved the quiz by Wheels McCoy in issue 13?
Well, worry not, because I have decided to compile a list of a few great reads as we hurtle towards the void that will soon be left by HAM. You are welcome.
Here Come the Dogs by Omar Musa
I heard Musa read a passage from this book and instantly fell in love. His background in hip hop and spoken word poetry has managed to find its way into prose in this book, it’s really something wonderful. Here’s a hot tip: if you go to www.herecomethedogs.com.au you can here an excerpt, do this immediately because it’s excellent. The story centres around 3 men in Sydney who all struggle with identity, violence and drugs. It explores what it means to be ‘in-between’ cultures searching for a familiar voice and recognition.
Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Ok – straight up, I want Maxine Beneba Clarke to be my best friend. Another author who hails from performance poetry, her prose is full of rhythms and idiosyncrasies of speech. The themes in this collection of short stories are huge; from a single mother working on a collection of short stories in a flat in Melbourne to an asylum seeker in a Sydney detention centre. Throughout the stories, it seems that Beneba Clarke’s aim with this collection is to give those marginalised or forgotten by society a voice, and to make the more privileged listen to it.
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
Based between an island off the coast of Britain and the Australian outback Wyld tells the story of the female protagonist Jake, who lives alone save for an untamed dog named Dog and a flock of sheep. But something keeps coming for the sheep, slowly, night after night, picking them off. Jake’s life is told in reverse from the unnamed island to the Australian outback where she sheared sheep, gathering high praise from the men around her who call her ‘a bloody good bloke’. The scars on her back hint of a dark past that is drip-fed to the reader throughout the book.
Angela Carter’s Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women
Probably one of my favourite books to dip into when I need a ‘girls to the front’ moment, this collection of stories is all about women sharply defying the status quo. The stories are fast paced and full of energy, and definitely focus more on the ‘wayward’ than the ‘wicked’, each of the stories portray women in all their glorious spectrum of female experience. This won’t be a book that sucks you in and keeps you enticed the whole way through, but more of something to read slowly, dropping into the stories whenever you need reminding of how excellent women are.