Sister Ships

Joan London, Author Penguin Books $5.95 (118p) ISBN 978-0-14-010571-1
In the title story in this slim, jewel-like collection, the narrator, a young woman, travels by ocean liner from her home in Australia to England, a trip that is nothing like her mother's past experience. (""The trip as my mother planned it . . . is like another ship travelling alongside this one, with all its passengers on deck waving in a friendly sort of way. There are bound to be some awfully nice types amongst them, my parents had a ball on their Trip Out, they are waving but getting hard to see now, the animal throb and grind of this ship is leaving them behind.'') While the narrator's friends and others aboard find love and romance, she wanders about the ship. Near the end of the tale, during a farewell costume party, she gives in to the spirit of hedonism, letting an older German man wearing a bunny outfit be her first lover. The other stories show a dazzling range of locations and situations, from sexual tension between two young couples sharing a house in the author's native Australia to several aimless hippie wanderers in '60s-era Laos. This is some of the best new fiction from Australia. (February)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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