The Bus on Thursday

Shirley Barrett. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-11044-4
Australian author Barrett’s frantically original and sometimes overwrought novel traces the breakdown of headstrong young Eleanor Mellett. The story begins with her in precarious balance, having just lost a breast to cancer surgery and angrily broken up with her long-term lover. She’s offered a mid-term teaching job in the little Outback town of Talbingo, and it’s such a beautiful, friendly place that she can hardly believe her luck. But how did the previous teacher vanish? And why did she have so many locks on her cottage door? And is Eleanor’s new lover overly passionate or actually demonic? As Eleanor drinks too much, commits a series of grotesque blunders, and fights the paranoid suspicion that something is out to get her, readers begin to realize that not everything that’s going wrong can be her fault: some malevolent force really must be playing pranks on her. Told in a series of blog posts (though at times the conceit is hard to believe), the narrative races and stumbles from one darkly hilarious pratfall to the next, and is recommended for readers who can laugh while cringing. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2018
Release date: 09/18/2018
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-29813-3
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