In this gripping and gut-wrenching short story collection, Pajalic delivers face-thumping drama and austere dialogue by depicting working-class characters in all their gutsiness and glory. Featuring animals in most stories as a motif for grief and hope, Pajalic alternates between tender stories of survival and the gritty underbelly of the Melbourne’s Western suburbs. Even when his characters are shady and flawed, morality and conscience shine through.
Drawing on his own experiences, Pajalic recreates first-hand the reality of coming to Australia as a refugee because of war and persecution. While many of the stories focus on the experience of Bosnian diaspora, it also tells the universal story of the refugee experience exploring the sense of homesickness, loss, grief, cultural shock, and making a new home in a landscape completely different to where you come from.
Flock—Alma, a Bosnian refugee and widow beset by financial hardship that she explains to her children as a game, struggles to find joy and purpose.
Crocodile—Two dog-nappers are tasked with an impossible job for a sadistic standover man, with their manhood literally on the line if they fail.
Names of Wildflowers—In this heartfelt story, grief and their love of flowers bring together a refugee and a profane racist working in a warehouse.
Muscles and Nerve—A photography student is using the darkroom at the camera shop to stay after hours for an important client. When there’s violence on the street, will he have the muscles and nerve to react?
To be published 10 October 2023 by Pishukin Press.
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