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A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories

A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories

by Sean O'Beirne

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 04/02/2020

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RRP  $27.99 $22.75

This brilliant collection mixes the storytelling originality of George Saunders and Lydia Davis with a sensibility all its own, taking the reader on an extraordinary tour of an old and a new Australia.

A woman on a passenger ship in 1958 gets involved with a young, wild Barry Humphries. A man looks back to the 1970s and his time as a member of Australia’s least competent scout troop. In 1988, a teenage boy recalls his sexual initiation, out on the tanbark. In 2015, two sisters text in Kmart about how to manage their irascible, isolated mum.

Then, in the near future, a racist demagogue addresses the press the day after his electoral triumph. As the cities heat up and lose their water, a lady from one of the ‘better suburbs’ makes every effort to get her family into an exclusive gated community.

Outstandingly original, bitingly satirical and written in a remarkable range of voices, A Couple of Things Before the End is a powerful vision of where we are – and where we may be headed.

ISBN:
9781760641283
9781760641283
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
04-02-2020
Publisher:
Black Inc.
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
208
Dimensions (mm):
210x135x16mm
Weight:
0.22kg

‘These voices, so superbly heard and rendered, threw me into fits of laughter and slyly broke my heart.’ —Helen Garner  .

‘Astonishing … an inventive collection of missives from the end of history. Complicated and savage and difficult and funny and melancholy, it’s both harsh and a caress. How do we speak and write into a future? I think Sean O’Beirne is showing us one way of doing it.’ —Christos Tsiolkas

‘O’Beirne inflects his identifiably Australian characters with a darkly comic and empathetic voice … altogether, this collection invokes [our] questionable past, ironic present and disturbing future.’ —Books+Publishing

Sean O'Beirne

Sean O’Beirne is a bookseller and critic.

He grew up in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, and studied arts, law and acting.

A Couple of Things Before the End is his first book.

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