Evan Johnstone Gift Pack***Price includes shipping across Australia***
Evan Johnstone Gift Pack
1. The Dog Who Conquered Loneliness
The Dog Who Conquered Loneliness and other life-lessons for the perplexed is a collection of short stories about a variety of outsiders, human and animal.
Some of the animals struggle to interpret the human behaviour they observe, while the others and the humans struggle to fit in to society by conducting inadvertently parodic attempts at living.
Loneliness is a recurrent problem for the characters, as is aspiring to an amorphous ‘more’ to their lives. Their aspirations are not satirised, merely thwarted by quirks of their own personalities, the indifferent hand of fate, or the general absurdity of the human condition. They are far from rebels, but are not quite comfortable in themselves or in the world.
In the world of these stories, a lonely dog achieves acceptance by excelling at hang-gliding, but is then carried across a distant range of mountains by freak winds and ends up lonely again; a lobster escapes from a tank in a Chinese restaurant but cannot find a fulfilling career; a mouse loves browsing in bookshops and deeply regrets his inability to read; and a sheep loses his mobile phone and immediately becomes invisible to the rest of the flock.
The events that befall the characters may be absurd or fantastical, but these imaginative tales of misfits are united by striking images, an ironic and individual narrative voice and dark humour, presenting a satirical view of the world we live in.
Trim size: 5 x 8 inches (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Page count: 200
Internal pages: B&W
Diminuendo is the third collection of Evan Johnstone’s stubbornly original work. Stories contemplate romantic staples such as the primacy of love and the consolations of art, among other compensations for the occasional difficulty encountered in life; stories of crime, clerical life, death and restaurant reviewing complete a darkly frothy mix. All are tinged with doubt, irony and a playfully surreal realism, founded in a distinctively poetic prose.
Some of the stories are parodies of genre fiction, such as crime and romance, a witty engagement with a literary tradition while also developing the stories in new directions.
In ‘The Greengrocer’s Daughter’, caseworkers at the NSW Department of Community Services suspect, given that Australia does not have an indigenous monkey population, that the brains of babies or young children are being used to supplement the lucrative export of monkey brains. An undercover operative, with whom the narrator strikes up a friendship, is obliged to pass himself off as a monkey to investigate the case.
In ‘Home Dentistry’, a man asks an old friend, an investigative librarian, to clear his name after he is arrested for the murder of his wife; insights into life and relationships abound as she clears up the mystery, despite his obsession with dentistry.
In ‘Visits to the Country’, Inspector Kant (previously met in Abandoned Places) attempts to solve another murder, this one involving a rape and two murders and an outbreak of Gnosticism in a small village on the south coast of NSW.
There are a number of diverse stories of romance and relationships which skirt and embrace the subject ingeniously. For instance, ‘Romance’ and ‘Analogues of Displacement’ provide a few glimpses of romantic love, encompassing the pain of lost love, unrequited love, requited love, and love between people who have no interest in each other at all.
In ‘Mrs McCready’, an old woman grieves for her husband during his time in a nursing home, and after his death, and recalls fondly their early years together.
‘A Counsellor’ is a satirical look at a relationship counsellor who appears to believe that romantic relationships, especially those involving sex, are impossible. He seems to doubt the wisdom of his clients even aspiring to a happy relationship, yet welcomes their visits on financial and entertainment grounds. He is also, paradoxically and hypocritically, unfaithful to his wife.
Trim size: 6 x 9 (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Page count: 340
Internal pages: B&W