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'In this outstanding collection of stories, David Malouf is at his best... Beautiful writing' Observer

From the image of a small boy entranced by his mother's GI escort, yet still hoping for the return of his father 'missing in action', to the portrait of an adult writer trying to piece together a defining image of his late father, these outstanding stories conjure up with dazzling intensity the memories and events that make a man. Through the unreliable layers of family archaeology, they uncover earlier, vulnerable selves, moments of innocence or shame, and unfinished business, illuminated by shocking flashes of unpredictable violence and pain, or glints of sly humour. In the brilliant cornerstone story, the stuff of dreams is both real and imagined -rumoured fields of cannabis picked in secret by migrant workers, or a nightmare encounter on a dark Brisbane street. In 'Night Training' a military recruit is scarred by his own complicity in a bizarre nightly ritual; and in 'Sally's Story', a 'comfort' girl looks for comfort of her own. Here are men and women in search of connection, or equally wary of it - whether with each other or with past selves.


Remarkable for its range and unsettling dynamism…in their subtlety, power and poetic finesse they are as good as any being written

Sunday Times

A highly accomplished collection, and one that resonates in the mind long after the book is finished

Daily Telegraph

A remarkable achievement… These stories are pearls


An excellent collection by any standard…a heart-warming book

Sunday Telegraph

Confirm[s] Malouf's stature as a writer of the very first order

Boston Book Review

Recalls the best work of E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf.... Carefully crafted

Los Angeles Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 6, 2001


    240 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    October 31, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    240 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by David Malouf

The One Day: Short Black 7
Being There
The Writing Life
A First Place
Earth Hour
Harland's Half Acre
The Conversations At Curlew Creek
The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World
The Happy Life: The Search of Contentment in the Modern World: QuarterlyEssay 41
The Complete Stories
On Experience
Revolving Days: Selected Poems
Every Move You Make
Typewriter Music
Made in England: Australia's British Inheritance: Quarterly Essay 12
Jane Eyre
The Great World
12 Edmondstone Street
Fly Away Peter
An Imaginary Life
Child's Play


Crimes of the Father
Men Without Women
Into the Water
No Middle Name
Best Laid Plans
The Woolgrower's Companion
The Traitorâ??s Girl
After You
Lake Hill
The Light Between Oceans
Congo Dawn
The Handmaid's Tale
Anything Is Possible
The Good Mother
The French Perfumer
The Mistress
The Course Of Love
Seven Types of Ambiguity