The High Spaces by Fiona McFarlane

The High Spaces

Fiona McFarlane

I loved this collection of short stories, many set in Australia but others in England and other parts of the world. They have a touch of cunning wickedness which I find attractive, though they could be unsettling. So good, I bought them as a gift for someone else.


Rose and Susan sat by a window with one lamp on and the curtains open. They looked almost identical in this pliable light. Ships sounded out on the harbour and a buoy in the bay fell and dell in the tide. Susan composed lists in the lamplight: errands, letters to write, shopping to be done. One finger was bright with her wedding ring. Rose disliked the publicity of wedding rings. Or perhaps she was only irritated that Robert was out with his wife tonight, at a fancy-dress party to which Rose had also been invited. She would have gone as a dancer, with red circles on her cheeks and her hair curled around her face. At some point during the party Robert would have placed his hand on the small of her back, but he would have left with his wife.

  • After the Blues by Kathy Lette
  • Balga Boy Jackson by Mudrooroo
  • The Best Australian Stories 2013 - edited by Kim Scott

Books with similar mood


Rattawut Lapcharoensap

Taking it to Heart

Marie Desplechin

Exciting Times

Naoise Dolan

Changes and Dreams

Glenda Beagan

Spanish Fly

Neil Rollinson

The Hunger Trace

Edward Hogan

On Becoming a Fairy Godmother

Sara Maitland

Sweet Home

Wendy Erskine

Man's World

Rupert Smith

Old People are a Problem

Emyr Humphreys

The Atmospheric Railway

Shena Mackay


Louise Stern

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Yiyun Li

Sawn-Off Tales

David Gaffney

Poems 1960-2000

Fleur Adcock

No One Belongs Here More Than You

Miranda July

Fear and Trembling

Amelie Northomb


Matthew Francis

Alpha Male

William Brandt

Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes

Billy Collins

Ghachar Ghochar

Vivek Shanbhag

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

ZZ Packer

The Simultaneous Dress

Linda France

Errors of the Spirit


Her Mother's Hands

Karmele Jaio

Aphrodite's Hat

Salley Vickers


Samuel Shimon and Hanan Al-Shaykh (ed)

Pobby and Dingan

Ben Rice

Looking Through Letterboxes

Caroline Bird


Garrison Keillor

Empty Words

Mario Levrero

Four Fathers

Tom Palmer (ed)

Glory Goes and Gets Some

Emily Carter


Joanne Limburg

The Old Child

Jenny Erpenbeck

Wasted in Love

Allan Wilson

Bad Dirt

Annie Proulx

Bar Balto

Faiza Guene

The Book of Proper Names

Amelie Nothomb

East of the West: A Country in Stories

Miroslav Penkov

Good Clean Fun

Michael Arditti

Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada

Zoe Valdes

Dance by the Light of the Moon

Judith Vanistendael

Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times

Neil Astley

Shakespeare's Sword

Alan Judd

No Word from Gurb

Eduardo Mendoza

Kafka in Bronteland

Tamar Yellin