There is so much about the human condition that is illuminated here in these beautifully written pieces. Wright takes the painful, the personal and the often unbearable frailty of life, and expands it so that the work becomes a celebration of being alive, of human resilience and of the beauty of the everyday.
Through the dystopia of styrofoam cups, depleted forests, rotting garbage, and an overabundance of aggressive species – colonists or currawongs, there is still laughter, a sense of hope, and a deep, abiding love for the city. In Aiken’s world, the human is absorbed into nature as just another animal, a predator who will one day be supplanted by another species. Though that may not sound like the prettiest of visions, A Vicious Example presents a collection of great beauty, and intense reflection.
This is a novel that, like Slessor’s poem, explores time, and the way in which it flows between and across character. When Ellie, James, and their pivotal teacher Miss Morrison learn about the Clepsydra – the Chinese clock that consists of vessels that leak time, Ellie and James are excited. Time is a process “of emptying and filling, a fluent time-passing, not one chopped into pieces.”