Woodpecker Point & Other Stories
Fiction by Carmel Bird
With this collection of twenty-four stories, New Directions introduces to American readers a wonderful new writing voice from Australia. Carmel Bird deftly walks the thin line between the ordinary world and the world of the imagination and the fantastic. As she has remarked: “When I read fiction I want the words to take my spirits into the places beneath the surface of the everyday world. I want the freshness of dreams to again be revealed to me.” By turns Carmel Bird’s tales are funny-sad, frightening-gentle, mysterious-matter of fact. Her prose is deceptive; lucid and seemingly artless, yet surprising––a left hook from a white kid glove. “Woodpecker Point,” the center-piece of this collection, perhaps best evinces Carmel Bird’s many special qualities in concert, above all her unique feeling for the materiality and color of things and for the mystery of the everyday. The assembled stories have been chosen from her first book, Birth, Death and Marriages (privately printed in Australia in 1983) on through her most recent work which shows in the concluding pieces, “Goczka” and “Every Home Should Have a Cedar Chest,” a poetic dimension intimated in her earlier writing and now brought to full bloom.