Two strangers in distress arrive at a farmhouse in the wheatbelt late at night. A woman is there, on the veranda of the farmhouse, frightened, alone. She greets the interlopers with a series of questions.
What has brought these people together? What do they have in common? Why does a dried up river matter to all of them? These questions hang over the play. As the seemingly gentle story unfolds, we realise the depth of Tim Winton’s vision. The play tackles deep questions of identity, sustainability and community without ever offering easy answers.
Only loosely tethered to shore but never ready to set sail, Col, Baxter and Jackie are live-aboards in a Fremantle marina. Jackie occupies the old sloop Mercy, Col calls the sleek ocean-going yacht Goodness his home, and Baxter is sandwiched between the two in a run-down sailboat called Shirley.
There are three ways to play a crime story. You can play it straight, making the most of the conventions of the genre. You can bend the conventions and the genre itself all the way around. Or you can take the genre deeper into the human mind and soul. These dozen stories play it every way there is, and they’re like nothing you’ve ever read.
Melbourne in the last decade of the millennium feels like a hard-boiled fiction or a noir film, with corruption in the air and on the ground. Six short stories and a novella circle the city’s decay, spiral towards a thrilling conclusion and fuse into a new kind of crime fiction.