by Wayne Marshall
A lonely yowie emerges from the bush to attend the Desperate and Dateless Ball. Mysterious creatures descend from the sky to place a ban on footy. A shark named Bruce turns up in the local swimming pool. A fisherman enjoying a boys’ weekend on the Murray River finds perspective where he least expects it.
In Shirl, Wayne Marshall takes a range of what-if scenarios to their fabulist and comedic extremes. Superbly inventive and powerful, these fourteen stories skewer contemporary Australian society – particularly the crises of masculinity and national identity – in insightful and yet hilarious ways, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. This astounding collection will make you rethink what it means to be Australian.
PRAISE for Shirl
‘A stunning collection, wildly imaginative and outrageously theatrical, underscored by a quiet tenderness and truth.’ – Wayne Macauley
‘Wayne Marshall is a writer of gorgeous imagination, daring experimentation and aching compassion, and Shirl is one of the best books of Australian stories you’ll read. ’ – Jane Rawson
‘A collection of bizarre, consistently funny stories that delights in dismantling the tropes of Australiana … a hugely entertaining and thoughtful read that will appeal to fans of George Saunders and David Cohen. 4 stars.’ – Books and Publishing
‘A strong sense of joy in stories of folly and wonder … [Marshall] uses satire to great effect, rendering memorable and surprising stories that reimagine masculinity.’ – Judges’ comments, VPLA 2019
About the Author
Wayne Marshall’s stories have appeared in Going Down Swinging, Kill Your Darlings, Island, Review of Australian Fiction, and other places. His story collection Shirl (then Frontier Sport) was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He is the co-founder of the Peter Carey Short Story Award, and lives in regional Victoria with his partner and two daughters.