Monday, January 25, 2021

Six top stories for fans of beautiful Australian Gothic

Kathleen Jennings is an illustrator and writer based in Brisbane, Australia. As an illustrator, she has won one World Fantasy Award (and been a finalist three other times), and has been shortlisted once for the Hugos, and once for the Locus Awards, as well as winning a number of Ditmars. As a writer, she has won two Ditmars and been shortlisted for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award and for several Aurealis Awards.

At Jennings tagged six favorite stories for fans of beautiful Australian Gothic, including:
Day Boy by Trent Jamieson (2015)

Day Boy is a little different from some of the other books I’ve mentioned here. For one thing, it’s a post-apocalyptic vampire novel, the story of a vampire’s young daylight servant who is growing out of childhood, and whose loyalties and choices for the future in a slowly decaying world will be tested. But while it is set in a small Australian town around which the bush presses, and while it deals with death and teeth and eternity, the tone is remarkably tender, and as the world crumbles the book begins to feel like a certain type of rural coming-of-age novel told backwards. I read it immediately after reading Willa Cather’s My Antonia, and there were such odd resonances there! In the Australian context, it has some of the bleak gentleness of one of James Aldridge’s St Helens stories—The True Story of Spit Macphee, perhaps—or a Colin Thiele novel (Storm Boy or The Sun on the Stubble). And yes, it is about vampires and death and the slow end of the world, but alongside the “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” of the modern world, there is an appreciation of the enduring, small kindnesses and daily joys of life.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue