KYD Advent Calendar

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

KYD Book Club

June First Book Club: Read an excerpt from Emily Bitto’s The Strays

by Kill Your Darlings , June 2, 2014Leave a comment

9781922213211

 

At the Kill Your Darlings First Book Club event in June, Emily Bitto will discuss the inspiration behind her debut novel, The Strays, which tells the story of a group of progressive artists in 1930s Melbourne, seen through the eyes of a young girl. We’re excited to publish an excerpt from her beautiful novel. 

 

I once read that the heart’s magnetic field radiates up to five metres from the body, so that whenever we are within this range of another person our hearts are interacting. The body’s silent communications with other bodies are unmapped and mysterious, a linguistics of scent, colour, flushes of heat, the dilating of a pupil. Who knows, what we call instant attraction may be as random as the momentary synchrony of two hearts’ magnetic pulses.

Eva’s mother believed in past life connections, that two souls can be twinned over and over, playing out different roles so that in one life they may be mother and daughter, in another husband and wife, in a third dear friends. I only know that throughout my life I have felt an instinctive attraction to particular people, male and female, romantic and platonic; attraction inexplicable at the time but for a certain mutual recognition. It was this way with Eva, although we were only eight years old.

I remember that day, after it all fell apart, when Eva came to me through the misty garden so that her red coat bled into view from white to pale rose to scarlet, the pride I felt. ThatI was the one she turned to. That I could give her what her own family could not. All those years as part of the Trenthams’ lives. Feeling loved, but never needed, never family. I am an only child; it is my lot to be envious, even grasping, to long for the bonds that tie sisters together, the fearless, unthinking acceptance that we are social creatures, pack animals, that there is never, truly, the threat of being alone.

***

I am sitting outside at the wooden table marking student essays when I hear the tidy creak and clap as the letter slot opens and shuts its mouth. I shuffle the papers into a pile, set them on a chair and walk through the open French doors, across the lounge room and down the hallway, lit cobalt by the panels of glass that flank the front door. The envelope is narrow and rust-coloured, shot through with metallic strands. Inside is an invitation that I recognise immediately, to the opening of Evan Trentham’s retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria. Tucked behind it is a sheet of notepaper folded into three. I open it and see Eva’s loose sloping handwriting, unchanged, so that some part of my mind slips, unsure if I am a middle-aged woman standing in her hallway in blue light, or if I am a girl again.

Beyond the front door I hear a man and a child walk past the gate, the man’s head swimming, rippled, across the panel of glass, the child’s voice falling indistinct from a high note like the carol of a magpie. I turn and walk back through the blue tunnel of the past towards the clear kitchen, reading as I go.

 

Dear Lily,

It has been so long. Far too long. I know it’s difficult to keep people in our lives, and I know that what happened in the past has made it hard for us to be in contact, although I’ve thought about you often over the years and have started letters to you several times. I’ve thought of you more since Heloise’s death, and now that the grief has eased a little bit, I’m determined not to let it go any longer. Being back in the country for Dad’s retrospective seems a good opportunity to reconnect, although I’ll understand if you don’t want to after all this time. Mum and Dad would of course love to have you at the opening, and for me it would be wonderful to see you again, dear friend of my childhood.

I know you are in contact with Bea, and she has my dates and details.

Please do come.

Love always,

Eva

 

I brace my body against the edge of the sink and pull my eyes up from the page. It is so many years since the last time I saw her. Three full decades at least. And now, Eva has come back to me like a good deed returned. Already I am imagining how it would be to see her again, and I become aware of that old compulsive pain I have pressed like a bruise again and again throughout the years.

 

Kill Your Darlings First Book Club: The Strays
Wednesday June 11
6.30 for 7pm

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

Happy Valley: Design, Books, Art
294 Smith St

Collingwood 3066




9508984918_5d8a187fc1_z

Marika Sosnowski

Living Side by Side: Multiculturalism at Home and Abroad

It all seems quite idyllic – people of varying nationalities, religions and cultures coexisting peacefully. It could be a blueprint for the perfect multicultural society. However, there’s something beneath the surface that is troubling to the western notion of modern liberalism. Read more »

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 »

057212e0462005b9_Thumb

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part One): TV, Books, Technology

In the first of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in television, books and technology. Read more »

isabelle_cover_grande

Dark Places and Safe Spaces: S.A. Jones’ Isabelle of the Moon and Stars

S.A. Jones’ Isabelle of the Moon and Stars is a powerful and affecting depiction of a young woman struggling with mental illness and emotional turmoil. A book like Isabelle might well be described as the underdog of Australian publishing: a character-focused literary novel published by a small press … Read more »

w527705

Carody Culver

Taking Christmas off the shelf

Ah, Christmas – for some, a time of gift-giving, awkward family gatherings and over-zealous consumption of rum balls; for booksellers, a time to weep silent tears of stress and experience the irrational but persistent fear of being buried alive beneath boxes of the latest Stephen Fry memoir. Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas

Julia Tulloh

A SuperFestive Christmas playlist

I know what you’re thinking: lists like this became redundant in 1992, when Jon Bon Jovi rubbed shoulders with Cindy Crawford beneath a Christmas tree for the first and last time. Does the ideal of Christmas music get any better? Perhaps not, but many have tried. Here are a few other Christmassy pop goodies. Read more »

Kim_cover_web_

Julia Tulloh

Kim Kardashian, butts, and the internet

We’re used to seeing her butt, and we’re also used to Kim doing crazy publicity stunts. Her entire life is a publicity stunt in itself, both the means and end of a crazy, money-making, power-acquiring trajectory. Her very fame is built on the playful and shameless self-exposure captured in the Paper shoot. Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

Exodus-Gods-and-Kings-Poster-Bale-and-Edgerton-691x1024

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Problems with God: Exodus: Gods & Kings

This is the thing about retellings of old and beloved foundation stories: it’s impossible to come to them fresh, without trying to compare and contrast with previous versions for veracity and style. It’s usually the modern incarnation that comes up short. Read more »

Screen-Shot-2014-10-01-at-11.22.21-AM

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Can too many parts destroy an adaptation? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

It’s a relief to feel the weight of fidelity lift off an adaptation film, as Mockingjay: Part 1 becomes a meta-exploration of fame, franchise and future. Read more »

057212e0462005b9_Thumb

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part One): TV, Books, Technology

In the first of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in television, books and technology. Read more »

3991099211_8397c745fe_b

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Taking up space: The legitimisation of creepshotting

There is a relationship between catcalling and creepshotting. Both are practices that involve the reduction of strangers to objects to be gawked at and commented on, which is what makes the ‘Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train’ Tumblr blog interesting and complex. Read more »

IMG_0086

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Pictures of pictures: Monument Valley and the rise of the in-game photographer

Presenting screencapturing a game as a form of camera-free ‘photography’ gives rise to a conceptual issue. If the ‘photographer’ is moving through, and capturing, a world created entirely by others, then who exactly should take the credit for any images created? Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

2447663467_2d543e6c87_o

Danielle Binks

Young Adult literature: genre is not readership

YA is not a genre – it is a readership. It may seem like pedantic nitpicking to focus on this distinction, but so pervasive is the mistake, amongst even established literary channels, that explaining the difference has become increasingly important and indeed necessary. Read more »

00page

Danielle Binks

Disability or superpower? Deaf identity in YA

‘We actually need more stories about deaf and hard of hearing characters and for their experiences to be shared in stories. Often, young readers believe they are ‘alone’ in their deafness and do not realise that there are many others like them.’ Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas

Julia Tulloh

A SuperFestive Christmas playlist

I know what you’re thinking: lists like this became redundant in 1992, when Jon Bon Jovi rubbed shoulders with Cindy Crawford beneath a Christmas tree for the first and last time. Does the ideal of Christmas music get any better? Perhaps not, but many have tried. Here are a few other Christmassy pop goodies. Read more »

drake-cover-650

Justin Wolfers

Drake’s climate change epiphany

Or: ‘Heat of the Moment’ as an epiphany in which Drake realises the urgency and importance of acting on climate change Read more »

057212e0462005b9_Thumb

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part One): TV, Books, Technology

In the first of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in television, books and technology. Read more »

??????????????????????

Stephanie Van Schilt

Lady Bosses on the Box

An increasing number of female-driven comedies, dramas or melodramas are popping up on our screens. Through the filters of fiction, the worlds these heroines inhabit directly reflect our own. This is the age of the lady boss. Read more »

105768385_5672eae965_z

Stephanie Van Schilt

Bananas without pyjamas? Budgets cuts and the next generation of ABC kids

From my humble beginnings watching kids’ programming, I learnt that ‘Your ABC’ was indeed, our ABC. The protests and public outcry which followed this week’s announcement of cuts to the ABC demonstrate its crucial role in fostering a sense of community for Australians. Read more »