'Marie King is a 59-year-old divorcée from Sydney's affluent north shore. Having devoted her rather conventional life to looking after her husband and three children - who have now all departed the family home - she is experiencing something of an identity crisis, especially as she must now sell the family home and thus lose her beloved garden. On a folly she gets a tattoo.
'Marie forges a friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys, who introduces her to an alternative side of Sydney. Through their burgeoning connection, Marie's two worlds collide causing great friction within Marie's family and with her circle of rich friends.' (From the publisher's website.)
Thou shalt not make any cuttings in thy flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:28
Please Doctor, I feel pain. Not here. No, not here. Even I don't know. -Czeslaw Milosz, 'I Sleep A Lot'
'Corporate and government place-making practices are designed to make place a more desirable commodity. In Sydney, this activity capitalises on the extant settler colonial drive towards property ownership. In this context, the labours of artists are often engaged to cultivate an interesting and sophisticated cultural atmosphere in areas that are undergoing top-down redevelopment. The role of literary arts is curious in this context because it does not cultivate the same configurations of community as other types of creative practice. By drawing a distinction between a reading (a live event) and close reading (a studious reflection), this essay engages in the latter as a form of counter-cultural place making. This is specifically the case in relation to two works—Fiona McGregor's novel Indelible Ink (2010) and Brenda Saunders' poem "Sydney Real Estate: FOR SALE" (2012)—that represent critical perspectives on the commodification of place. By engaging in a close reading of these texts, this essay serves the dual purpose of exploring the role of ecocritical literary studies in the real-world oriented field of Environmental Humanities.' (Publication abstract)
'Within twentieth-century Australian fiction, suburbia has long been trivialised, satirised, or ignored as a site incompatible with a narrative of transformation, a location from which to flee. However, little critical attention has been directed on contemporary realist tales of the female protagonist located within the confines of suburbia—an increasingly contested yet arguably still feminine/feminised zone. This chapter examines contemporary representations and narrative trajectories of the suburban female protagonist in twenty-first-century fiction. Drawing on “postfeminist” literary theory and emerging reappraisals of the “everyday” and “home”, the chapter presents evidence of intra-suburban narratives of feminine transformation, which contradict second-wave feminist flight trajectories, thereby reclaiming and elevating fictional suburbia as a critical space in which Australian women writers may locate their stories.'