For Everyone Concerned and other stories, by Damien Wilkins
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This exhilarating mixture of fables, satires, notes to self and short shorts will further enhance Wilkins’s reputation as one of the most daring and innovative of New Zealand’s leading writers.
Praise for For Everyone Concerned
Book of the Week
This is a masterful collection. No matter how short, light or ephemeral each story may be on first reading, each hangs in the air, like a smoke ring.
John McCrystal DOMINION POST
Wilkins on form, as he often is in this book, is the best around. You won't find more assured comic writing anywhere that "American Microphones" (the tribulations of live performance) or "Girls" (woodwork lessons at intermediate school). And "Reunion", dealing with parental anxieties, is a little masterpiece that had me whistling in admiration at the accuracy and astuteness of Wilkins' observations.
Iain Sharp SUNDAY STAR TIMES
I’ve just read Damien Wilkins’ new book For Everyone Concerned and other stories. These little stories (some of them are just a page or two, one only two lines) are like a box of chocolates, to risk a Forrest Gump metaphor.
Each one is a meticulously crafted, luminous gem that shows a hawk-eyed passion for human foibles and failings – they make me think of Nabokov. They often feature some of the most irritating of people that cross our paths – a pernickety (but frightened, tender, hilarious) father, the possessive, snippy girlfriend of a brother. The father stories (and there are several) only use conversation – conversation that is so cleverly written as to create a picture in your mind of the two that is almost all-encompassing.
Most made me smile, at some I laughed out loud. "American microphones" was one where I laughed till I actually cried – about Damien reading his work to a room full of Americans who constantly get up to the bathroom, can’t hear him and request re-runs, burp and fart: ‘At some profound level’ he writes, ‘I think of Americans as dangerously carbonated people.’) As he gets closer to his 'nice sentence' they all hear tennis players outside shouting 'fuck' and arguing over baselines.
I hugely enjoyed munching on a few of these delights just before bed; saving the rest for later, I thought of them in the evening with anticipation. ...Love your work, Mr Wilkins. Yum.
Kathy Hunter LEAFSALON