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Dreams They Forgot

Emma Ashmere

Dreams They Forgot
Two sisters await the tidal wave predicted for 1970s Adelaide after Premier Don Dunstan decriminalises homosexuality. An interstate family drive is complicated by the father's memory of sighting UFOs. Two women drive from Melbourne to Sydney to see the Harbour Bridge before it's finished. An isolated family tries to weather climate change as the Doomsday Clock ticks.

Emma Ashmere's stories explore illusion, deception and acts of quiet rebellion. Diverse characters travel high and low roads through time and place - from a grand 1860s Adelaide music hall to a dilapidated London squat, from a modern Melbourne hospital to the 1950s Maralinga test site, to the 1990s diamond mines of Borneo.

Undercut with longing and unbelonging, absurdity and tragedy, thwarted plans and fortuitous serendipity, each story offers glimpses into the dreams, limitations, gains and losses of fragmented families, loners and lovers, survivors and misfits, as they piece together a place for themselves in the imperfect mosaic of the natural and unnatural world.

Emma Ashmere was born in Adelaide, South Australia. Her short stories have been widely published including in the Age, Griffith Review, Overland, Review of Australian Fiction, Sleepers Almanac, Etchings, Spineless Wonders, #8WordStory, NGVmagazine, and the Commonwealth Writers literary magazine, adda. The short stories in her collection Dreams They Forgot have been variously shortlisted for the 2019 Commonwealth Writers Short Story Award, 2019 Newcastle Short Story Award, 2018 Overland NUW Fair Australia Prize, and the 2001 Age Short Story Competition. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Floating Garden, was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2016.

Praise for Dreams They Forgot
'Emma Ashmere’s characters are luminescent. These stories drew me into people and worlds so vivid they practically lived on the page.' - Anna Spargo Ryan

'Ashmere's writing is full of quick insights and telling details. These stories move effortlessly through place and time, entering lives on the point of transgression. It's an absolute pleasure to travel with them.' - Jennifer Mills

'The deft description, compelling emotion and insightful observations of Dreams They Forgot will appeal to readers of feminist fiction and Australian realism, in particular fans of Dymphna Cusack or Fiona McGregor.' - Adam Ford, Books and Publishing

'Generally, an author’s work improves with time, but all twenty-three stories in Dreams They Forgot are of equal quality. In some collections, stories can blur together, but the diverse locations and historical periods utilised in these stories make each piece memorable.' - Annie Condon, Readings

'The stories in this strong and varied collection range across urban and rural Australia and beyond, to such touchstones of Australian travel as Bali and London, and to more exotic settings such as Borneo and regional France. Emma Ashmere’s stories are often impressionistic, never laboriously chewing on their material and trusting the intelligence of the reader to join the dots and grasp the underlying feeling. There are some excellent stories about family life, especially those told from the point of view of a semi-comprehending and bemused child or adolescent. But Ashmere’s greatest strength is in her stories of the historical past, especially in Australia. These stories acknowledge the limits of what is knowable to contemporary readers, evoking instead the unrecoverable strangeness and mystery of the past.' - Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald

'Ashmere's stories offer moments of insight into love and alienation, the attempt to integrate the fragmentary nature of childhood into the construction of the adult 'self', and the struggle to find ways to manage the ripple effects of trauma; they are also crucially concerned with the development of the voice to tell it. … In their different ways, all stories in this collection signal the importance of finding the individual experience that cries out to be articulated and acknowledged while also refining the craft required to make it sing.' - Rose Lucas, Australian Book Review
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743057063
Extent 252 pages
Price: AU$24.95 including GST
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