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The characters in Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points live in small dusty towns, glittering exotic cities and slow droll suburbs; they are mourners, survivors and perpetrators.
In the award-winning ‘Aokigahara’, a young woman travels to the sea of trees in Japan to say goodbye. In ‘Coarsegold’, a woman conducts an illicit affair while her recovering girlfriend works the overnight motel shift in the middle of nowhere. In ‘Dogs’, Foggo runs an unruly gang of bored, cruel boys with a scent for fresh meat. In ‘Pressure Okay’ a middle-aged man goes to the theatre, gets a massage, remembers his departed wife, navigates the long game of grief with his adult daughter.
Jennifer Down, whose first novel, Our Magic Hour, was commended in the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, is a masterful stylist whose sharp eye has been compared to that of Helen Garner. Pulse Points is a gutting collection that showcases her singular voice, and reminds us once more that this is a writer of great talent.
‘All the rapture and calamity of youth. Jennifer Down is a writer of rare insight and heart.’
‘Down’s evocation of Audrey’s grief is astute, perceptive and always convincing…It’s compelling writing.’
‘An emotionally sophisticated and impressive novel.’
‘With precise and beautiful prose, the short stories in Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points carry an emotional clarity and intensity that is truly impressive.’
‘A master of short fiction, this short story collection brings together works including her prize-winning ‘Aokigahara’…Down’s prose isn’t afraid of dark subject matter, and handles this with a sharpness and clarity that is a delight to read.’