Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin) 2014, 85pp, RRP $14.99

Miles-Franklin-award-winning novelist de Kretser’s latest is essentially a long short story (85 pages worth, with large type), and can therefore be consumed fairly easily in one sitting – but that doesn’t detract from its loveliness or eeriness. Springtime - Michelle de Kretser - Allen and Unwin - The Clothesline

Quiet Frances has moved with Charlie from Melbourne to Sydney, where she is writing a thesis, enduring his ex’s long-distance foibles and moody son, dealing with fears that she’s done the wrong thing and walking every day with nervy dog Rod through a park where, eventually, she spies something strange. However, the ghosty part of the tale (regardless of what the cover might promise) isn’t quite the chief plot thrust here, as this is instead primarily about the eccentric realms of academia, the things we say that hide what we really mean, the relentless march of time and all those unanswerable questions about fate.

Often beautifully written, de Kretser’s brisk, sometimes unsettling character study is over all too soon, and leaves us uncomfortably wondering what will happen when spring and summer are over and autumn and winter inevitably creep up.

Dave Bradley

Springtime is available through Allen & Unwin. Click here to purchase your copy.

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