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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Child's Play

Australian author David Malouf's fourth novel was written in 1982. It's been sitting on my bookshelf for more than a decade and I finally decided to read it. It is written in the voice of a young man in Italy planning the murder of a famous writer.  He goes into work each day, has co-workers that he doesn't know too well and awaits the word from above that it is time to act. Initially I thought this was a post 911 terrorist novel and was surprised that it was inspired by a bombing in Bologna in 1980. The novel proceeds with an almost hypnotic calm. The protagonist is just an ordinary fellow living a boring life, studying the life of the man he is to kill, while waiting for the call that will shake things up. The ending, when it finally comes is anti-climactic.
Two short stories were included with Child's Play. Eustace is the story of young girls in a residential school whose innocence is defiled by a dangerous young man who finds his way into their dormitory by night.
Prowler is about an intruder who invades homes in a Brisbane suburb, sometimes naked, sometimes armed. There are enough incidents reported that a special investigation squad is struck. Fear envelopes the community but none of the victims is able to identify the prowler. Physical descriptions vary greatly. Women leave their windows open despite the threat. Why? Who knows? It's curious.
Malouf is an interesting writer. If you like his writing you'll like this.

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