The Corner of Your Eye
In Lyons's dark second novel (following The Water Underneath), Lucy Monaghan's almost-12-year-old daughter, Florence, has disappeared from their scruffy Sydney home. With Flo gone, former punker Lucy has fled the city (without trying to find her) to take refuge with Leo, a fisherman in the south. As the novel opens, Lucy's former companion, Archie, calls Lucy to say he has sent her pictures of Flo that he's unearthed. A teen when Flo was born, Lucy got caught in a cycle of poverty, speed and a violent affair with a local dealer while making a home with sweet but drug-addled Archie. On seeing the photos of Flo, Lucy decides to return to the city with the hope of finding her daughter. Told through a confusing series of flashbacks, the novel slowly adds pieces to the puzzle, leaving the reader ungrounded. Lyons has a gift for metaphor, but extended descriptions of Lucy, Archie and Flo's depressing milieu, and Lucy's deeply internalized first-person, do little to propel the action forward. A host of unlikable characters, an improbable plot line and an abrupt, abortive ending prove insurmountable.