Advertisement

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Events, KYD Book Club

July First Book Club: Read an excerpt from Jock Serong’s Quota

by Kill Your Darlings , June 24, 2014Leave a comment

9781922147936

At the Kill Your Darlings First Book Club event in July, Jock Serong will discuss the inspiration behind his debut novel, Quota, a mystery novel set in a remote coastal town. Read an excerpt below from this atmospheric and intriguing book. 

 

The reefs were called Gawleys Kitchen, though Barry had never met anyone who could tell him why. When the swell rolled silently up from the southwest, the surfers would head out there. Some of them paddled the whole stretch from the foot of Antonias cliffs. Mostly they used tinnies or jetskis. On flat days the reef and its creatures belonged to the divers. Hefty crays and glassy-eyed trumpeter, shot through the gill rakers.

To the north and east of Gawleys, to Barry’s left, the bay opened up again. A wide, docile bowl stretched out towards the cape, thirty or more k’s away. As it curved away from town the land came round parallel to the prevailing swell and the waves turned to long, straight lines sweeping right to left below Barry’s cliff-top perch. They ended their run at the eastern end of the bay, finally unburdening the last of the Southern Ocean’s mythic fury on the sand. No one went there. Hardly anyone would walk a dog that far. The trail riders wouldn’t take their horses down there; the swell dumped deep piles of kelp that clogged the beach. Dirt bikers and the odd fox shooter, that was about it. Barry had been there. But then he had a natural curiosity about things.

‘Okay then Darlene.’ Lou had someone new on the line. ‘Which poison is said to have killed Socrates?’

Bugger. Hemlock? Or nightshade? The callers were going down like they’d been strafed. Arsenic, strychnine, cyanide; some stoner reckoned iocane powder.

Something about Gawleys.

Something out there in the dark wasn’t quite dark. Barry made the mistake of looking at the lighthouse again, then had to blink away the purple spot in his vision, violet-violet-pink-white-gone. The water surface had the look of a grubby mirror, streaked with a blacker grey where the reef peered through.

Hemlock. It just sounded… ancient. Laurel wreaths and hemlock. Togas. He glanced down. Soy on his shirt, the sort of thing Deb used to tease him about. ‘Did you get any of it in your mouth, dear?’

Lovely Deb, tired and warm. Gone last spring, and with her all of the order and domesticity in Barry’s life. The alcohol interlock device now clipped to the dashboard represented the loss and the pain that still echoed. He’d taken very hard to the stout in the weeks after the funeral, one schooner chasing another as he reassured the sympathetic. Yes, doing very well, thank you for asking. Eyes creasing, close enough to a smile.

He’d been warned about driving home from the pub. Taken aside, told it had to stop. He’d just accepted the warning like he accepted the condolences and concern. In the end he’d left the local cop no choice but to book him; the great irony being that once he’d lost his licence he completely lost interest in the grog. Like it had served its purpose, putting him off the road, then gone on to tap some other poor bugger on the shoulder.

The time without his licence didn’t worry him all that much, aside from missing his drives out to Antonias. The interlock, though, that was an assault on his way of life. It seemed to choose exactly those times when he was most comfortable to start up its furious screeching for a sample of his breath—horn blaring, lights flashing—until he pulled over to satisfy it, feed it like some mewling infant. Minutes would pass before he could gather his frightened thoughts and restart the car.

He fumbled around under the drivers seat for the binoculars. Took a moment to focus and find his target in the blackness. He could just make out low lines of whitewater on the outer edge of Gawleys, when he found the thing that had caught his attention.

There was no fixed light on the reefs—couldn’t be, they were too exposed. The fishing boats had a red port light, green starboard, and white all round.

But this was orange, and it was moving. Larger, smaller. Moving or flickering? It was irregular somehow, getting bigger then fading again, then pulsing brightly. It was still a long way off, well over the back edge of Gawleys. The beam of the lighthouse, a cold white shaft through the air, caught it once, then again. Barry knew he was looking at the gunwale of a boat, the side of the cabin. And the idea came to him quietly like another answer. The boat was not where it was supposed to be.

He snapped the radio off. Tried the high beams but they bleached out somewhere in the middle distance. A sheet of newspaper whipped past the front of the ute as though it had taken fright. Barry noted its path—the wind had arrived from the south-west again, punching a violent gust into the stillness, followed by a long stream of colder air. The heavy calm of the evening was done, and a change would reassert the order of things.

He turned the lights off and waited patiently for his eyes to figure it all out. Leaning forward now. Squinting until he felt a little ache under his eyebrows where the binoculars were pressing. He scrunched the greasy paper bag into a ball and fired it backhand at the dark space where the dog lay curled. A moment or two later, light and dark resolved themselves into shapes, and the shapes made sense.

He picked up the phone from the passenger seat and started dialling.

 

 

Kill Your Darlings First Book Club: Quota
Wednesday July 23
6.30 for 7pm

The First Book Club is free, but bookings are required.
RSVP to events@killyourdarlingsjournal.com to confirm your place.

Happy Valley: Design, Books, Art
294 Smith St

Collingwood 3066

Purchase Quota through Text Publishing.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

9864007066_4a196b364d_z

Tim Robertson

Fear, loathing, and the erosion of civil liberties

The hysteria currently being concocted by Australia’s political leaders is a smokescreen for the more serious threat facing everyone – an attack of the very freedoms and values our nation has been built on. Read more »

308982705_be9f94455b_b

Marika Sosnowski

Back inside: Life on the Syrian-Turkish border

In Turkey, less than 50 kilometres from the border, Syrians have chosen their favourite cafes, have opened Aleppine sweet shops and set up stores in the old city. Read more »

Frances Abbott

David Donaldson

Why #whitehousegate matters

A few days after the release of the budget, in which the Coalition government announced it was spreading the burden by increasing university fees, cutting school funding, and cutting welfare for young people comes a story that confirms what many already suspect to be the nature of opportunity: it’s much easier to come by if you’re born into privilege. Read more »

9781863956932

Carody Culver

Charmless lives: Helen Garner’s This House of Grief and Erik Jensen’s Acute Misfortune

How do narrative non-fiction writers who dare to dissect the darker aspects of humanity keep their readers engaged, rather than simply horrified? Read more »

KrissyKneen_credit_DarrenJames

Carody Culver

‘As if the top of my head were taken off’: The digital possibilities of poetry

‘When Emily Dickinson says, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” I can’t help but think she would be stupefied by the possibilities of digital literature.’ Read more »

tumblr_n9hftkebsr1tfwx0xo1_1280

S.A. Jones

‘Fool the Axis, Use Prophylaxis’: World War II’s anti-venereal disease posters

Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II gives a fascinating insight into one of the ways the United States ‘managed’ servicemen’s sexuality: through poster art. Read more »

15115828030_526f79c515_z

Julia Tulloh

The celebrity spokesperson phenomenon

What should we expect celebrity advocates to deliver? Emma Watson is not a full-time activist, but if she inspires young people to take an interest in gender equality, is that not a good thing? Read more »

Clara and Doctor

Julia Tulloh

Doctor Who’s gender dynamics: a mid-season evaluation

In some ways, Peter Capaldi was a problematic choice for the newest regeneration of Doctor Who. How on earth were the producers going to pull off a successful friendship between a middle-aged man and a twenty-something woman, without it seeming at best patriarchal and at worst creepy? Read more »

blue-ombr-speckle-liner

Julia Tulloh

From the outside in: the beauty vlogger phenomenon

A current cohort of beauty bloggers are helping to break down distinctions between internal and external expressions of self in ways that allow them to generate new ideas of beauty on their own terms, rather than according to society’s expectations of what women (or men) should look like. Read more »

Whiplash-Damien-Chazelle

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Whiplash: bloody fingers and broken drumsticks

Whiplash is one of the year’s most exciting and electrically charged films. Admittedly, that’s a large claim to make for a little movie about a New York music student, his abrasive teacher, and a whole lot of banging and yelling in band practice. Read more »

Gone-Girl-Ben-Affleck-Rosamund-Pike-Entertainment-Weekly-cover

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Marital Crises: Gone Girl and Force Majeure

You can share your body, your bed, your bank account, and even your toothbrush, with another human being. But each mind contains a private world that can never be fully understood or examined, let alone shared with another. Read more »

theskeletontwins1

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Suicide, Laughter and The Skeleton Twins

Even the best parents can inflict some form of lifelong damage upon their children. But when parents are outright mad, bad or dangerous – or in the case of the funny, bittersweet comic drama The Skeleton Twins, so depressed they commit suicide – the damage can feel impossible to bear, even decades down the track. Read more »

ST_Ello_600

Connor Tomas O'Brien

The Rise of the High-Minded Startup

Ello’s manifesto is the key to understanding its relative success, and how it has managed to sign up hundreds of thousands of users despite offering a wafer-thin feature set. Read more »

6289302147_38e8035680_z

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Jacqui Lambie and the limits of Remix Culture

The combination of Google Image Search, Photoshop, and Facebook is a powerful one, providing web users with the ability to seek out swaths of copyrighted visual material, rip and manipulate these pictures so the original source is obscured, then share the freshly “remixed” images to a broad audience with no real fear of legal action. Read more »

Streisand_Estate

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Don’t Look: The emergence of Streisand criticism

In the wake of the recent nude celebrity photo leak, I noticed something strange about the ways different publications skewed their coverage. Tabloid-style publications tended to be honest about their motives. The behaviour of left-leaning broadsheet-style outlets, however, was more complex. Read more »

9780062211194

Danielle Binks

Nepotism, bullying and stalking: When online reviews go bad

The tangible power author Kathleen Hale wields, evinced by her numerous connections and Guardian platform, enabled her continued harassment of her book’s 1-star reviewer. The vocal support and defence put forward by Hale’s influential friends and family appears to be a case of privilege feeding narcissism. Read more »

nonaandme

Danielle Binks

Race, growing up and Nona and Me

Nona & Me beautifully explores female friendship amid cultural and political upheaval. It’s a tender portrayal of two girls who have so much in common, but are worlds apart. Read more »

7183815590_de3f64bca6_z

Danielle Binks

‘YA-bashing’: sexism meets elitism

Another month, another critic who doesn’t read YA literature but still feels superior enough to dictate to those who do. And with this latest instalment of ‘YA bashing’ comes critique of the critics – as many start pointing to a patriarchal undercurrent that runs beneath such articles that claim young adult and children’s fiction is unworthy. Read more »

PEREZ_3©yann_morrison-546x364

Chad Parkhill

The not-so-universal language of mankind

Music is, demonstrably, not the universal language of mankind: if that were the case I could make myself understood in Paris’s cafés and boulangeries by carrying around an iPod full of songs titled ‘A Coffee, Please’ or ‘A Baguette With Duck Rillettes To Go, Thanks’. Read more »

homepage_large.9419e472

Chad Parkhill

The music of exhaustion

The War on Drugs new album Lost in the Dream is the startling sound of exhaustion – both a personal exhaustion and a broader cultural exhaustion – transformed into art that is thrillingly and paradoxically vital. Read more »

free-u2-album-on-itunes

Chad Parkhill

The Perpetual Undeath of Rock

 ‘Hey hey, my my, rock and roll can never die.’ Depending on your own tastes and cognitive biases, Neil Young’s famous lyric will now seem more prophetic than ever before – or profoundly misguided. Last week saw the release of U2’s Songs of Innocence in what Apple … Read more »

bojack-horseman-exclusive-trailer-debut_bghe

Stephanie Van Schilt

Jerks, antiheroes and failed adulthood in You’re The Worst and BoJack Horseman

In addition to both being really funny, two new US comedies – You’re The Worst and BoJack Horseman – speak to a widely-held fear about what, exactly, constitutes ‘adulthood’. Read more »

images

Stephanie Van Schilt

How To Talk Australians and the rise of web series

How To Talk Australians has deservedly garnered widespread praise both locally and internationally. With close to two million views worldwide, it could be deemed our first truly successful locally-produced web series. Read more »

please-like-me

Stephanie Van Schilt

Mental illness and Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me

While the jury is still out on the success of Please Like Me’s efforts to address ideas around mental health, the discussions both its seasons have provoked and continue to encourage are incredibly important. That, I definitely like. Read more »