Author(s): David Malouf
"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."