The beauty of reading a book of short stories is the range and scope of people, places and plots that evolve. We move smoothly from a Bangla Jungle, to the Danube River and then to a winter beach scene in Melbourne. Again, the themes vary widely, but in most stories everyday people are examined for their hopes, fears and dreams. Some of the stories will shock the reader, some will bring comfort, and some a sense of recognition.
The author has a way of involving the reader and evoking the feeling that you are right there. Swimming in the pool, once in a zen-like state of doing laps, it is not hard to imagine the slow reaction of the swimmer, to seeing a thumb at the bottom of the pool. The swimmer senses the unreality of the situation and disbelieves what he is at first seeing. From this slowly unravelling tale, as many of the stories are, we look at children who have migrated.
Some of the families came to Australia for the warmer climate, but none forgot or gave up many traditions or customs of their homeland. As bedtime stories are told about the lives and people from the old country, there is a duality of loyalties and dreams that builds up. Some find this comforting, others find it distressing and can’t cope. There are many dark thoughts and feelings explored here. And the loneliness and isolation of aged people of all cultures, is revealed.
A.S. Patric’s writing is clear, concise and understated. He allows the readers to interpret a situation through their own eyes and experiences. Often this is disturbing and uncomfortable. His stories cover such a wide range of topics that, beginning a new story is similar to beginning a new book.