With skill and economy, Rebecca Burns allows us to slip into moments in the lives of her characters when the meaning and emotion of their struggles up to that point seems to compress. Memories overwhelm. New choices perhaps appear.
That compression of time can be triggered by an item, an artefact; perhaps a greatcoat, a letter, a bootie. Bits and scraps. Moments. Glimpses.
In The Bread Princess, we discover that an array of bonnets can give us impressions of the changing attitudes in a small community across a century. In other stories we view obliquely into the psychological impact of the 1914-1918 war through unexpected portals: a kitchen, a railway waiting room, a cricket match.
These snippets about each of Burn’s characters are like a sheaf of loose pages fallen from the larger books of their lives. We discover enough to give us a feel for who they are and to wonder what will happen to them, even while we must accept that we’ll never get to read all of their pages, just as we cannot ever really know someone’ else’s life story.
Artefacts and Other Stories, by Rebecca Burns is published by Odyssey Books. I enjoyed this collection; and also recommend Catching The Barramundi and The Settling Earth. For more stories by Rebecca Burns see her website here.
You are in the blog of Mark, guardian, chocolates-fetcher, cushions-arranger, and photographer for Mawson Bear, one of this bright world’s very few Writer-Bears. Mawson wrote It’s A Bright world To Feel Lost In.