“Rain sounds like sausages frying in a pan. You don’t think it does, right now, but after you’ve read this, it will rain, and it will forever after sound like sausages.” (From Barrage by Jude Bridge)
This recent anthology from indie publisher Spineless Wonders (edited by Cassandra Atherton, $22.99) is a compelling collection of short stories that savour sound. The sound of words running and clashing together, mesmerising rhythms and very loud silences. And the sounds that change our characters’ lives – even if but for a moment. A 90s classic tinnily playing on grocery store speakers, the sound of anxiety burrowing into your brain like a bird, the slurps of tea that are silenced when a beloved dies, an earthquake.
Featuring award-winning Australian writers and poets including Bella Li, Brenda Saunders, Jordie Albiston, Jill Jones and more, Shuffle is a testament to how loudly the short-story form can speak. In turns hilarious and heartbreaking, wonderfully absurd and simply beautiful, there’s sure to be a story that will echo in your mind for some time. And being microlit, you can swallow one whole in under a minute.
By Emma Walsh (who you can hear making lots of sounds about Australian short stories on her podcast, Coffee Pod|cast)