Andy Kissane, ‘Swarm’ in The Australian

Lives Measured by Vulnerability

Rebecca Starford reviews Andy Kissane's Swarm in The Australian Dec 1 2012


The Swarm is the second impressive collection of stories I've read lately from Puncher & Wattmann. Sydney writer Andy Kissane delivers 11 stories, vaguely interlinked, located in urban milieus across the country. The men and women of Kissane's stories grapple with issues of self-esteem. There's a cellist on the brink of throwing away his musical career, a recently widowed grandfather struggling to tell his daughter about a burgeoning new romance, a sleazy salesman having an affair with a buxom colleague. But unlike in Las Vegas for Vegans, these characters' curious vulnerability is rather benign and mostly endearing. There's plenty of nostalgia too. People who've seen better days long for their younger selves, keen to revive old memories and the idealism of the past. Old Friends details the impromptu reunion of three former NIDA students, now in their 40s. Paul is working in a cafe when he encounters Ursula, and their meeting is a catalyst for memory, lost and unexpected romance.

Rebecca Starford is associate publisher at Affirm Press and editor and co-founder of literary magazine Kill Your Darlings.

Read the full review in The Australian (subscriber access needed)

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