'He enters the Balaclava cafe exactly on time. His walk is a recognisable reverse-bounce: footsteps pressing downward, as if he’s trying to sink the soles of his shoes deep into the floor. His shoulders curve gently inward, as if in an attempt to occupy less space. He could be 15 centimetres taller maybe, if he drew himself up true-straight.' (Introduction)
'Michael Fitzgerald’s debut, The Pacific Room, is putatively a novel about the last days of Robert Louis Stevenson. After several years travelling around the Pacific, the Scottish author of Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde spent the last four years of his life in Samoa, on a 160-hectare estate. He became known to the locals as Tusitala (“the teller of tales”), became embroiled in local politics, and was buried there, on top of a mountain.'
'In the prologue of Mark Brandi’s award-winning debut novel, Wimmera, something unusual is discovered by two young boys in a fast-flowing river. It’s a green wheelie bin with the lid bolted on, “like someone wanted it closed up really tight … like they didn’t want what was in there to ever come out”.'