The voice of the playwright is obvious in Christine Evan’s verse novel Cloudless. A rich blend of characterisation, setting, and powerful thematic weaving from poem to poem, the novel takes us deep into the heart of working class Perth in the 1980s. Each of the eight key voices who make up the story are on the cusp of something: their lives about to change.
At no point does the book lose its dramatic momentum. In fact, so compelling is the plot at times that it takes some effort to slow down and read the poems fully as poetry should be read, rather than racing on to see what happens. Vanishing Point is quick and easy to read, but the poems repay second and third readings where the complexity of the work begin to unfold. Diana’s self-awareness grows viscerally and sensually as she comes to accept the sensations of her adult body through the final section.
There’s a freshness to this form of novel, and Lowe handles it well, but I still feel like I’ve been left with a snapshot rather than a story. Nevertheless, as a portrait of both a post-WWI veteran, an image of cricket at its most exciting period in Australia, and a portrayal of Sydney in the 20s, this is a lovely, evocative book, full of rich imagery and sensual moments.
Once again, Porter succeeds in that impossible juggling act of narrative and poetry. Even for the most casual of reader, El Dorado reads easily as a fast paced, intense and psychologically satisfying thriller. For those who want more than simply a quick escape, El Dorado explores complex topics of childhood innocence and guilt; love and hatred; desire and psychosis with the kind of taut intensity that only poetry can provide.