by Rebekah Clarkson
Everybody thinks they know this story. But do they? If you took a bird’s-eye view of any sprawling Australian regional town, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks. Get closer. Peer through a window.
In the town of Mount Barker, you might see Nathan Hearle obsessively recording the bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. You might hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure love. Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime.
Rebekah Clarkson has created a compelling, slow-burning portrait of a town in the midst of major change as it makes the painful transformation from rural idyll to aspirational suburbia. What looked like redemption is now profound loss. What seemed spiteful can now be forgiven. A novel in stories, Barking Dogs is an assured debut from one of Australia’s most respected storytellers.
‘An intricate and subtle wonder of a book, at once restrained and honest, unsentimental and deeply moving. Rebekah Clarkson is a writer of breathtaking insight and empathy.’
‘Great art without flamboyance or ego, Barking Dogs is an extraordinary first work of fiction.’
‘Rebekah Clarkson takes us to a place of intimacy and isolation, community and cruelty that we recognise, with pleasure and alarm, as the way we live now.’
‘For the most captivating aspect of this novel-in-stories is the subtle web of connections, links so many and various the reader is tempted to plot them on a map to better appreciate the skill with which they are deployed … It is hard to describe the force of these seemingly minor connections except to say they replicate the ramifications of our real lives and in so doing turn a selection of short stories into a profoundly satisfying novel.’
THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER