Then he turned on the clock and heard the first thing anyone or anything said to him in his thirties. “Good morning. You have 394,200 hours left to live.”
From 'The Death Clock', Poppies
He closed his eyes and remembered the bottle of bourbon disappear out the driver's window as he gunned the car at over 160kph, saw it explode in a million shards and droplets in the rear vision mirror, and the black crows skipping towards it, towards the site of the explosion, before it all disappeared behind him in a silver haze of heat.
From "The Abattoir Party', Poppies
I can't quite understand this, being only five, but the less obvious my mother tries to make my lazy eye by disguising it with the pink patch, the more it stands out. The bold black patch, though, seems to make the problem disappear. Suddenly I am the Pirate Boy. Yo-ho-ho.
From 'The Eleven Movements of the Pirate Boy', Ticking
I went to what I thought was a meeting of the No Aircraft Noise Party, but it had nothing to do with the No Aircraft Noise Party. It was literally a No Aircraft Noise party. A fancy dress party. A fancy dress party with an aircraft theme. There were three huge walking triangular sandwiches, complete with crusts and a frill of lettuce. There were five sick bags, a half-dozen Emu Homestead Anzac cookies sachets, two captains, a smattering of stewards, one elaborately dressed purser, a silver coffee pot, a colourful group of orange juice containers, a few boarding passes, two bulky beverage trolleys in the corner next to the jukebox, and a gathering of miniature spirit bottles. On the dining room table someone had ingeniously rigged up an automatic Lazy Susan that looked like a tiny luggage carousel. It carried snacks around on an endless circuit. And then there was The Banana Queen.
From View From the Bar Italia: An Entertainment
THE LULU MAGNET is really three books in one.
The first book is called Poppies, and is about the downfall of one man, Edward, who is a Lulu Magnet - someone who attracts lulus, crazies, bums and psychos. This collection of stories takes us through Edward's transformation from a square, law-abiding citizen to a deeply troubled figure with multiple personalities. This transformation takes place because his marriage suddenly and shatteringly breaks up when he discovers his wife is having an affair, and the bottom drops out of his life. Eveything he took for granted just isn't there any more and he becomes a sort of black hole for madness, trouble, violence, weirdness and strife. As with a lot of Matt's writing, the collection begins lightly and humorously and then plummets down, spiralling into darkness and disfunction. Poppies is a brilliant, disturbing, compelling story of a late 20th-century man whose life just goes off the rails.
The second book, Ticking, is an collection of stories based around time and memory, and focuses on how what happens in our childhoods has a profound affect on the way we live the rest of our lives. Matthew evokes the smells, sights and sounds of childhood with great skill and feeling in this moving and lyrical collection that examines the friction between a life of respectability and a life without consequence.
The third book, View From Bar Italia: An Entertainment is a comic novella about a tabloid journalist who holes up in the Bar Italia in Leichhardt and observes the world. This novella was serialised in The Sydney Review, and is an absurd and hilarious look at inner-city life and its oddness and complexities.
THE LULU MAGNET is, quite simply, a literary feast, an intoxicating and diverse combination of three separate and satisfying works which are a testament to the Matthew Condon's skill and versatility as a writer. Sharply observed and beautifully crafted, THE LULU MAGNET is a book of stunning range and depth by the acclaimed writer of The Motorcycle Café, Usher, The Ancient Guild of Tycoons, and A Night at the Pink Poodle.