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y separately published work icon Pulse Points : Stories selected work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Pulse Points : Stories
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The characters in Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points live in small dusty towns, glittering exotic cities and slow droll suburbs; they are mourners, survivors and perpetrators. 

'In the award-winning ‘Aokigahara’, a young woman travels to the sea of trees in Japan to say goodbye. In ‘Coarsegold’, a woman conducts an illicit affair while her recovering girlfriend works the overnight motel shift in the middle of nowhere. In ‘Dogs’, Foggo runs an unruly gang of bored, cruel boys with a scent for fresh meat. In ‘Pressure Okay’ a middle-aged man goes to the theatre, gets a massage, remembers his departed wife, navigates the long game of grief with his adult daughter.' (Publication Summary)

Contents

* Contents derived from the Melbourne, Victoria,:Text Publishing , 2017 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Pulse Points, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'Ramesh had known Gerry for years - eight in fact, as long as he and Henry had been together - but this was, in a way, like meeting him all over again.' (Introduction)

(p. 1-18)
Aokigahara, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'I phoned my father when I arrived. He said, Your mum's just round at Aunty El's, in such a awy that I knew she wasn't; that she'd left the room with her hand to her mouth when he'd first said, Hullo love, and I felt so sorry for us all.' (Introduction)

(p. 19-34)
We Used to Get Here Fast, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'1996'

'In the morning we walk all the way tot he beach to count puffer fish. Me five, her four, plus a dead rat. Lally crouches and pokes it with a stick. There are maggots squirming there and it makes me feel crook. It's the second day of the school holidays. It's not raining, but it's so cold the air feels wet. Lally picks up twigs and holds them like cigarettes. Her breath comes in clouds. I can tell she's trying to be grown up but she looks constipated.' (Introduction)

(p. 35-50)
Turncoat, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'The afternoons when Murray got home first, he liked to take the dog for a walk down to the foreshore. In winter the fat palms shivered. Murray spent his days with trees. Naming them, measuring them, collecting the soil they stood up in. He lived in St Kilda for thirty-odd years, but sometimes the sour smells of rotting seaweed and dim sims and car fumes still surprised him. he had habit of sniffing his fingers to see if they still smelt of the forest at the end of the day. They never did, but sometimes his nails were still caked with soil.' (Introduction)

(p. 51-62)
Dogs, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'Usually we took turns but sometimes Foggo wanted her to himself. Once he called it, that was it.' (Introduction)

(p. 63-72)
Convalescence, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'We left the hospital in Saint-Antoine at dawn. We stood on the pavement, cold and dumb. I heard the whale song of an ambulance fade sourly into the streets. It was Lewis who turned his back on the building first.' (Introduction)

(p. 73-84)
Vaseline, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'Delaney's mom has bought tampons for me since I was twelve because I've always been too embarrassed to ask Pop or Luther. Delaney brings them to school for me in the drugstore paper bag. Last time she gave me a jar of Vaseline, too, and told me it'd make it hurt less next time Ray tried to stick it into me. The Vaseline had a blue strip on its lid to show it hadn't been opened. It snapped apart easily enough. The surface of the jelly inside was smooth, calling out for me to plug my finger into it. It smelled like glue or something eles you might use around the house. i put it in my bedside drawer. Luther wasn't around to find it and ask me about it. He was in Colorado.' (Introduction)

(p. 85-98)
Peaks, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'Gideon came to pick me up from the train in Sheffield. He was standing by the kiosk holding his phone. I had the upper hand of the person who sees first. He hadn't changed. Same curly dark head. greying at the temples since I'd known him; same unfashionable wire-rimed glasses. Same posture: he had the faux-casual stance of the lanky man who was bullied as a child. i had the uncharitable thought that he could do with some sunlight. He waved when he saw me.' (Introduction)

(p. 99-112)
Eternal Father, Jennifer Down , single work short story

' At the end of my shift I put on a fresh pot of coffee and have a cup with JJ. We always do when we work together. He's my favourite of the cooks. Today he tells me a story about his granddaughter. Last week it was her third birthday. He phoned her in the morning. She was confused, he says. She kept saying, 'But Poppy, where did my two go?' He chuckles when he says it and I can tell he really loves her.' (Introduction)

(p. 113-134)
Alpine Road, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'Mornings were when they were most forgiving of each other. When they fucked now it was first thing, when they were still kind. Before Clive got sick, he was always up early. He worked at the power plant in Hazelwood. Even when he’d been on night shift, he’d get up and make the coffee.' (Introduction)

(p. 135-146)
Vox Clamantis, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'When Johnny told me his mother was dying, really dying, I didn't know at first what he meant. 

'They said ten months first'  he said. 'Then they said three. Now they are speaking in  weeks.' 

Speaking in weeks. Like that was a language.

(Introduction)

(p. 147-166)
Hungry for God, Jennifer Down , single work short story

' this was the part of the memory she didn't tell anyone :  him standing in the drive, ready to burn. The silence aster she cut the engine. The country darkness was a heavy clean black, the stars sharp, but she was washed with light from the porch and her car. We she got closer she saw he was trembling, shivering, crying; wild hair and eys, jerry can in his hands. (Introduction)

(p. 167- 174)
Pressure Okay, Jennifer Down , single work short story

'He heard the that the MTC was putting on Summer of the Seventeenth Doll . He remembered studying it, and he remembered Kirsten studying thirty years later. He phoned her and asked if she'd like to go. Or it could have been her idea. Maybe she'd sent him one of her text messages. A photo of the advertisement on the side of a tram and a stream of question marks, like one of those puzzles in the paper where you had to make meaning from two oblique images He didn't remember precisely what the play was about. Something about men attracted to strong light, the way the sugarcane grew straight, yearly pilgrimages. he bought the tickets anyway.' (Introduction)

(p. 175-188)
Coarsegold, Jennifer Down , single work short story

In Coarsegold our life was slow and small. Lux was the one who'd suggested the move, but she was the one who went crazy with it. I took a job teaching at Mariposa Country High. She worked as a receptionist in a motel in Oakhurst, seven or eight miles up. She dyed her hair the colour of sunshine sometime round then. I remember us in the bathroom of the old new house. Her hair was wrapped in plastic. She was sitting on the edge of the tub, one foot propped on the enamel and the other lifting the linoleum from the floor where it was coming unstuck. We were both smoking cigarettes, both in our underwear. The window was open.' (Introduction)

(p. 189-222)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Ventriloquism Susan Midalia , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 394 2017; (p. 13-14)

'Barbara Kingsolver, praising the skill required to write a memorable short story, described the form as entailing ‘the successful execution of large truths delivered in tight spaces’. Her description certainly applies to Jennifer Down’s wonderful début collection, Pulse Points. Using the typical strategies of suggestion, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness of those ‘tight spaces’, Down’s fourteen realist stories raise important questions about family, sexual relationships, and the role of place and social aspiration in the shaping of identity. While these are familiar subjects for literary fiction, Pulse Points is especially memorable for its range of characters and voices, and for its often haunting expression of the partial nature of knowledge generated by the short story form.' (Introduction)

Ventriloquism Susan Midalia , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 394 2017; (p. 13-14)

'Barbara Kingsolver, praising the skill required to write a memorable short story, described the form as entailing ‘the successful execution of large truths delivered in tight spaces’. Her description certainly applies to Jennifer Down’s wonderful début collection, Pulse Points. Using the typical strategies of suggestion, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness of those ‘tight spaces’, Down’s fourteen realist stories raise important questions about family, sexual relationships, and the role of place and social aspiration in the shaping of identity. While these are familiar subjects for literary fiction, Pulse Points is especially memorable for its range of characters and voices, and for its often haunting expression of the partial nature of knowledge generated by the short story form.' (Introduction)

Last amended 24 Oct 2018 08:00:21
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