Collected Stories, Shirley Hazzard

AWW Gen 4 Week, 16-23 Jan 2022

I’m not sure I’ve read any Shirley Hazzard, The Transit of Venus maybe, years ago. And I remember being a bit bemused that a novel about the Great Fire of London by a writer based in New York should win the Miles Franklin (2004) but I understand she regards herself as Australian and has maintained connections here. Bron has her Collected Stories and has chosen to look closely at the first two short stories Hazzard had published.

178d3c9b3c81ff378159e63c4ba1500a Brona’s Books

A Foreword by Zoe Heller claims that Hazzard ‘emerged with her distinctive talents fully formed.’ When I realised that I would have no chance of finishing all these stories before Bill’s Gen 4 week, this comment focused my reading onto the first two stories she wrote. Just how ‘fully formed’ was she?

Heller states that Hazzard’s stories were not the ‘typical literary artefacts of their time‘. Her characters were recognisable from that period but by ‘their rigorously elegant style…less so‘. Read on …