(The following was written by writer, blogger and reviewer Marion Black)
The Heartland collection of novellas set in outback Australia and written by Aussie writer John Holland are not connected by story line, but by setting. Each is a complete story in itself.
Not so much a triumphant march through the land of his birth this, more a grim determined slog uphill on a hot day. The people who populate these stories are often flawed and bitter. However, like the hard country they live in they have beauty in them as well. Expect for a couple of characters who don’t have many redeeming features at all!
Raw powerful stories that pluck at the heartstrings and challenge the mind. Let’s look at the four leading characters from each book, shall we?
Shane Morris is suffering from depression. (Somewhere far from Iris)
Mick Creedy, a laconic outback policeman. (The Light at the Bottom of the Garden)
Dexter Knight, a tormented man with a disfigured face. (Bitter Bread)
Buck Brown, a boy facing almost certain death in the outback. (Left of the Rising Sun)
Not a collection for the faint hearted and nary a shirtless vampire with a perfect six-pack to be seen, but if you like your literary fiction raw and real you will love these stories of the hot hard places, where the bony elbows of humanity collide with the sharp edges of life.