Review Blog

Mar 19 2015

Eat the sky, drink the ocean, edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar and Anita Roy

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743319789
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Short Stories, Fantasy. When in 2012, two appalling crimes against women were perpetrated, one in India where a woman was raped and murdered in a bus and the other in Melbourne where a woman was raped and killed walking home, the idea for this anthology extolling the ambitions and dreams of women was born. A partnership between writers in India and Australia was promoted, resulting in pairs of authors working together to produce speculative fiction, with women grasping the world with both hands, ensuring that they take big chunks out of that pie in the sky.
As a result this anthology published by Allen & Unwin with funding from the Australia Council, presents ten short stories, six graphic stories and one play script.
Each story is unique, fascinating and playful.
In a classroom, they could be used as a study of short stories, a study of speculative fiction, a model for students' work, and a jumping off board for reading other works by the authors appearing.
Trying to choose just a few to talk about is almost impossible, as I enjoyed them all. A graphic story by Nicki Greenberg, Back-stage pass has a journalist interviewing Ophelia before her curtain call. The questioner asks the girl why she was written that way, why she killed herself and why she didn't have more to say for herself. Questions countless students ponder when studying Hamlet. Nicki's recognisable graphic style stands out. I can imagine readers going off on a tangent with this one, postulating Ophelia's story for themselves. But this applies to so many of the tales in this book.
In Little red suit, Justine Larbalestier puts Little Red Riding Hood into a dystopian future where people live in a bubble, protected from the outside world. But Poppy is desperate to visit her grandmother's house and comes across a wolf.
Anita Roy's Cooking time postulates a very future Master Chef where Mandy has another agenda in becoming a contestant.
Cast out by Sahmta Rani is very confronting beginning with a girl being whipped and removed form her village but finding a place where women come together.
Weft by Alyssa Brugman has a girl sell a kidney to receive enough credits to buy someone's hair, but in getting the hair entwined with hers, begins to think about the person who sold her hair.
Each story offers something different, and at the end of the book are pieces from each author explaining their collaboration with another, which adds another level of interest to the stories.
Fran Knight

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