The Rip by Robert Drewe, Australia, 2008

This wonderful collection of thirteen short stories will intrigue and fascinate. The writing is beautiful, and Robert Drewe's obvious connection with the Australian landscape, especially the coastal landscape, is centre stage from the very first page. The descriptions appeal to all the senses; take, for example, the following lines from Masculine Shoes:

'… This sand was like crushed pearls. What excited him as the boat drew closer, however, was the dramatic potential of the ornately rooted pandanus palms, lawyer vines and shadowy eucalyptus poised on the edge of those pale sand-hills. The stark vegetation provided a sinister backdrop to the serenity of the shore. Winter storm tides had eaten into the dunes, and undermined trees lay toppled on the beach all along the high-water mark... '

or, from The Rip:

' … Smoke from an inland bushfire met a humid mist rolling in from the ocean in a haze of muted light across the beach. In the low snapping waves, seashells rattled and chinked like coins... '

At times, there is humour layered between the sadness of relationships gone wrong and the problems caused by misguided decisions. With most of the stories, there is no definite resolution, and yet they are stories that leave you thinking long after you have finished the last story and closed the book.

Image of Robert Drewe from