Following, as I did, the gestation of this fine collection on Facebook, it did have an entry into the world that garnered a few bumps along the way. A crowd funded project, it is a tribute to its editors and backers that a successful function at Fullers Bookshop saw its emergence with a degree of fanfare. At its southern end co-editor Rachel Edwards did a magnificent job to carry it all through to fruition. It was an ambitious task to group
together an eclectic range of Taswegian and Old Blighty contributors to examine the notion of island and city. As one would expect, what has been produced will see some efforts not to everyone’s taste in the mix. I must admit there were a couple of short stories I struggled with. Taken as a whole, though, it is a most worthy compilation – with local wordsmiths more than holding their own in comparison with the Londoners in quality of product.
Ben Walter continues to impress with his alluringly dense, articulate prose – with so much of the outstanding artistic endeavour on our island always being ‘…something to do with the light.’ We have had a recent example of this these last few days as dusk has settled over Hobartian hills after a spate of unusually, for this summer, warm days. Oliver Mestitz’s original take ‘How to Pick Up an Echidna’ also delighted. For my enjoyment the pick of the bunch was Claire Jansen and her atmospheric rendering ‘Manhattan is an Island’. This up-and-comer recently graced the pages of the Mercury’s Saturday Tasliving feature and, if her story is any indication, she would seem to have a bright future in writerly pursuits.
Her story, as with many of her character’s generation, is a tale of participation in the Tasmania diaspora to the four corners of the world – a theme reflected, as well, in other offerings here. For these people, as well as often those that choose to remain, the magnetic pull of our island in the southern seas becomes stronger as years pass. We know we inhabit a unique place – despite its economic and social woes we eventually come to conclude there is none better to be found at those four corners. I know that, as my years gather up around me, I find it harder and harder to contemplate leaving it, even for relatively short amounts of time. The pull of London, Paris or NYC cannot match what we have here. As Ben says – it truly is ‘…something about the light.’
Congratulations Rachel. Like our island, you too are a gem.
Transportation Islands and Cities Facebook page = https://www.facebook.com/transportationbook