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Stephen Orr

A long-deserted drive-in, waiting for a rerun of the one story that might give it life; a child who discovers his identity in a photograph hidden in his parents' room ...

Stephen Orr's stories are happy to let you in, but not out. In Datsunland, his characters are outsiders peering into worlds they don't recognise, or understand: an Indian doctor arriving in the outback, discovering an uncomfortable truth about the Australian dream; a family trying to have their son's name removed from a Great War cowards' list; a confused teenager with a gun making an ad for an evangelical ministry.

Each story is set in a place where, as Borges described, 'heaven and hell seem out of proportion'. There is no easy escape from the world's most desperate car yard, or the school with a secret that permeates all but one of the fourteen stories in Datsunland. Here is a glimpse of inner lives, love, the astonishment of being ourselves.

Praise for Datsunland:
'When Orr nails it, his writing is piercing, brutal, powerful, both in respect to his unflinching gaze and his wielding of plain English like a weapon. You as a reader will survive, but not without blunt force trauma to show for it.' - Sam Cooney, Australian

'Suburbia has long been shunned by writers as a fitting setting for their work, but in this book, Orr embraces it. He is willing to explore beneath the surface clichés, and reveals rich pickings.  In just a few pages, Orr achieves a depth of psychological insight into his characters, and a level plot development often lacking in full-length novels. He writes with a light hand, and each story is a page-turner. But each also reveals a core of thoughtfulness. Datsunland is a thoroughly engrossing read, and on reaching the last page, I felt hungry for more.' - Queensland Reviewers Collective

'[Orr's] stories in this first collection tend to stop very effectively just short of the punchline, leaving the reader testing their own breathtaking interpretation of his implications.' - Katharine England, SA Weekend

'At its best, the writing is insightful and strangely beautiful ... Orr holds the collection together with an impression of force and linguistic brutality.' - Catherine Noske, Australian Book Review

'Orr's writing is wonderfully rich in detail, his stories utterly captivating, dramatic and disturbing, memorable for his vivid language, his construction of time and place, and for the vivid reality of the human condition.' - ReadPlus

'Orr writes with clarity and a first-rate ear for dialogue. ... Where the book is likely to have its lasting appeal is in the short and intense portrayals of life that flow from Orr’s pen. ... The thematic range is considerable in this collection and Orr’s authorial voice never misses a beat, his self-assurance as a writer giving the stories an easy accessibility.' - Christopher Bantick, Weekly Times

'[Orr's] work continues to have a prominent place in the literary mapping and recording of South Australia and Adelaide, and this collection of 13 stories and one novella will add to his reputation as a chronicler of his home city.' - Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald

'The short stories in Datsunland strike notes of moodiness and dark irony.' - Carmel Bird, Newtown Review of Books

'Beautifully written by a literary craftsman.' - Carl Delprat, Compulsive Reader

'It’s a no-holds-barred exploration of the lives of boys and men. It is not a pretty book, but it feels real, even where it pushes extremes ... It’s a provocative read, but a good one.' - Sue Terry, Whispering Gums

'Orr’s writing carefully evokes the overwhelming nothingness of the outback, and the defiant resolve of the people living in this void who somehow, for some reason, continue to live there. Orr’s characters are not just people who live in the country, they are a part of it ... In Datsunland Orr highlights our shortcomings: our abandonment of our country folk, who reside too far from any major city to be given much thought. He shows us our selfishness, depravity and racism.' - Lauren Dougherty, Transnational Literature

Stephen Orr is the author of six previous novels. His work often wins or receives notable mentions for literary awards, including two longlistings for the Miles Franklin. He contributes essays and features to several magazines, journals and newspapers. His short fiction has been published widely over the last ten years, and a selection is gathered here for the first time. Stephen Orr lives in Adelaide.
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743054758
Extent 312 pages
Price: AU$29.95 including GST
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