These superbly crafted stories follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are travelling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. We meet them navigating reluctant partings and uncertain returns or biding the disquieting calm that often precedes decisive action.
An agoraphobic French émigré watches terrorist videos compulsively as she minds a dog named Chavez. A young couple weather the interiority of a Montreal winter, more attuned to the illicit goings-on of their neighbours than to their own hazy, unfolding futures. A Western Australian family cross from mainland to island, from disaster towards a faltering redemption. Other stories play out in locations just beyond the brink of familiarity: flooded townships and distant lakes, sunlit woodlands or paths bright with ice, places of unpredictable access and spaces scrubbed from maps.
From the Catskills to the Snowy Mountains, the abandoned island outports of Newfoundland to the sprawl of an Australian metropolis, this scintillating collection from one of Australia’s most gifted writers shows us how the places we inhabit shape us in ways both remote and intimate.
Josephine Rowe was born in 1984 in Rockhampton and raised in Melbourne. Her novel, A Loving, Faithful Animal, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice and led to her being named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist. Her work has appeared widely in Australia and overseas, including in McSweeney’s, Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, The Paris Review Daily and Freeman’s. The winner of the 2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, Rowe has held fellowships with the University of Iowa, Stanford University, the Omi International Arts Center and Yaddo.
Reading Josephine Rowe’s work is an utter joy. Here Until August is an incredible collection that showcases the true talent of Rowe as a writer of characters that are as engaging as they are unique. Each story is carefully constructed, with every word chosen for a purpose—this thought and attention to detail makes the writing shine and shows a strong sense of technique and nuance.
The stories in this collection look at all of the core aspects of human life—grief, love, sex, sadness, joy and loss. They are deeply reflective, with moments of lightness that create an overarching sense of optimism.
Rowe’s stories are full of heart and empathy, and ultimately explore the human condition through relationships. The narratorial voice shifts gently, drawing the reader in and allowing for a reading experience that is both enjoyable and thought-provoking.
‘Here Until August is a book to spend time with: carry it around with you to read in spare moments, and keep coming back to it until the edges are worn and you’ve spilled coffee or wine on it at least once.’ Felicity Sutton, Book Review: ArtsHub.
‘Josephine Rowe’s stories are about beauty, moments of unexpected and lingering magic that interrupt or punctuate the everyday.’ Fiona Wright, Sydney Review of Books.