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ALL THE UNLOVED by Susan McCreery
It’s not often you pick up a book and find, on its cover, a picture of the very apartment block that was home to one of the most outrageously seedy nights of your misspent youth. But, well, here we are. In the tradition of Maupin, Al Aswany and, dare I say, Perec, All the Unloved is the story of that apartment block (thankfully, sans me), told through the lives of those who live in it. At its centre is Jade, a skater girl, navigating the complexities of early teenhood. She is the building’s connective tissue, a window into all the inhabitants’ lives. As you’d expect from 90s Bondi, it’s a hodgepodge - gossiping elderly sisters, a struggling musician, a queer couple, anxious parents - living in fragile harmony until the arrival of Rebecca, a young author, who will mess with them all.
McCreery writes in staccato bursts, her prose a convincing simulacrum of lives briefly shared in corridors and stairwells. And while drama abounds, the real poignancy is in the mundane routines of everyday existence. Tender, complex and insightful, All the Unloved is the warm embrace of a past you’ve almost forgotten. Or, in my case, wish you could.
All The Unloved by Susan McCreery
Spineless Wonders, 2023