The Swarm

$24.95 inc GST

Product Description

What happens when three old friends from NIDA meet again? What is Marc Chagall doing in St Peters in the twenty-first century? Why does a young woman disappear in suburban Sydney? These people are governed by a swarm of impulses that hurl them into situations that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking. There’s seduction by cake, a buried secret and the announcement of a pregnancy on a peak-hour train. In eleven stories, bound together by recurring characters, Kissane creates a fictional world that is familiar and strange, engaging and exhilarating. Ultimately, The Swarm is a book about love: the difficulty of finding love and hanging onto it in the face of the dilemmas thrown up by life.

“Andy Kissane’s characters seek the sweetness at life’s centre, often becoming the victims of their own naivete. These are stories to savour, stories where the reader’s own imagination will supply the final outcomes.”

— Carmel Bird

“Each story here conveys the skill, the art and generosity of a writer who respects both the form and his readers.”

— Tony Birch

Andy Kissane has published one novel, Under the Same Sun and three books of poetry, Facing the Moon, Every Night They Dance and Out to Lunch, which was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Prize for Poetry. He is currently the Coriole National Wine Poet and six of his poems are featured on the back of the 2011 Coriole Cabernet Shiraz. He lives in Sydney and teaches creative writing in schools, universities and the community. Website:


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.” REBECCA STARFORD, The Australian

“Done well, a short story will grab you by the scruff of the neck and press you hard up against life, in all its beauty and ugliness. Andy Kissane’s collection, The Swarm, did just that…Kissane’s stories are not complex or filled with action and movement, but each satisfies in its own way. They encourage the reader to participate, imagining what lies outside the confines of the words on the page…There is a skill to writing a good short story. Every word must count; must earn its right to be there. Kissane clearly knows this. There is nothing superfluous here.” LISA WARDLE, Rochford Street Review

“Kissane has the ability to draw you into the story, making you concerned to find out what happens and where his characters are going. He also has an eye for the details that convey authenticity. This is quality storytelling.” ANDREW WILKINS, Bookseller + Publisher Magazine

“Andy Kissane’s The Swarm is a collection of engaging, insightful stories. Here are the middle-class suburbs as we know them, and relationships as they always were and will be. Frustrations, different agendas, foolishness, faithfulness, personal mini-dramas, traffic jams, males as lovers and losers—Kissane’s stories are convincingly patched into the current of middle-class issues and aspirations.”NIGEL KRAUTH, Westerly Magazine