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A boat trip in a squall to scatter the ashes of an old man, who was not loved.
A young father, driving his daughters home across grass plains, unable to tell them that their mother has died.
A speech that doesn’t include the aching pain of trying to save a cousin’s life.
A mother hiding her fugitive son in a cockatoo cage as the river rises.
A man pouring his life into finding the perfect stained glass after his wife has left him.
A woman longing for the right person to tell about her sister’s death, while she works nightshift at a roadhouse.
These are moving and evocative stories about love and loss and yearning—and the things we don’t say. Claire Aman is a strong new voice in Australian fiction.
‘A suite of quietly beautiful short stories based in and around Grafton…A loving snapshot of a naturally beautiful but slightly melancholy rural centre. They are stories of fierce family loyalties, old age, poverty and small dignities, the kind that country towns seem to embody.’
‘Aman’s tales are burnished with a quiet intensity…While there’s a precision to the placing of each word that speaks of a controlling rigour, the actual content of these 16 stories reveals a certain freewheeling dramatic flair…Here is grief and beauty in symphony.’
‘Aman writes: “The poet sees the hugeness of things. She will distil and distil until she has a single shining drop.” This is also true of Bird Country, which packs huge themes—poverty, friendship, disability, abuse, death, family, addiction—into sixteen excellent short stories.’
‘Aman’s ideas are original and her imagination fertile. Her writing is generally attractive and strong, with a sure touch when it comes to telling detail…Aman is capable of some showstopper phrases, such as the “naked and mortified brightness” of the dead possum’s eyes in “Sustenance”, and she has a nice line in dry humour…Peopled with memorable and often touching characters, and redolent of Australia, Bird Country is a thoroughly enjoyable and varied reading experience, and Aman is a writer to watch.’