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The sparkling debut from an exciting new voice in Australian fiction, Claire Aman. Bird Country is a collection of spare and affecting portraits of ordinary people in rural Australia.
A boat trip in a squall to scatter the ashes of an old man, who was not loved.
A young father, driving his daughters home across grass plains, unable to tell them that their mother has died.
A speech that doesn’t include the aching pain of trying to save a cousin’s life.
A mother hiding her fugitive son in a cockatoo cage as the river rises.
A man pouring his life into finding the perfect stained glass after his wife has left him.
A woman longing for the right person to tell about her sister’s death, while she works nightshift at a roadhouse.
These are moving and evocative stories about love and loss and yearning—and the things we don’t say. Claire Aman is a strong new voice in Australian fiction.
Claire Aman grew up in Melbourne, but has lived most of her life in rural Australia, in and around Grafton in New South Wales. Her short stories have been published in a number of collections and several have won prizes, including the Wet Ink/CAL Prize and the Hal Porter Prize.
‘A suite of quietly beautiful short stories based in and around Grafton…A loving snapshot of a naturally beautiful but slightly melancholy rural centre. They are stories of fierce family loyalties, old age, poverty and small dignities, the kind that country towns seem to embody.’ Books+Publishing
‘Aman’s tales are burnished with a quiet intensity…While there’s a precision to the placing of each word that speaks of a controlling rigour, the actual content of these 16 stories reveals a certain freewheeling dramatic flair…Here is grief and beauty in symphony.’ Australian
‘Aman writes: “The poet sees the hugeness of things. She will distil and distil until she has a single shining drop.” This is also true of Bird Country, which packs huge themes—poverty, friendship, disability, abuse, death, family, addiction—into sixteen excellent short stories.’ New Zealand Herald
‘Aman’s ideas are original and her imagination fertile…Aman is capable of some showstopper phrases, such as the “naked and mortified brightness” of the dead possum’s eyes in “Sustenance”, and she has a nice line in dry humour…Peopled with memorable and often touching characters, and redolent of Australia, Bird Country is a thoroughly enjoyable and varied reading experience, and Aman is a writer to watch.’ NZ Listener
‘A variety of birds—both free and caged—illustrate the human condition…I enjoyed the variety of emotions and the rich imagery in Aman’s anthology.’ Good Reading, FOUR STARS
‘It is rare these days that a complete collection of short stories can sustain a sense of breathless wonder throughout each and every piece included in its pages…But in the Australian short story scene, exciting things are happening, and I believe Claire Aman’s debut collection Bird Country is one of them…This is a collection that will bear reading and rereading, and rereading again in the years to come.’ AU Review
‘Set against the Australian landscape, this is a wonderful collection of moving and evocative stories about relationships and what happens when things are left unsaid.’ Page & Blackmore
‘The 16 stories capture snapshots of poignant experiences and moments in time that are rich in emotion and thought-provoking. Inspired by motorcyclists, sailors, uninvited guests, bridge jumpers and bird fanciers, Aman tells her stories in descriptive prose and paints images that remain with you long after you have turned the final page.’ Weekly Times
‘A suite of fresh and beautiful short stories from the broken families and clapped-out pubs and river towns of rural Australia.’ Helen Garner, Sydney Morning Herald’s Year in Reading
‘Claire Aman’s Bird Country took me back to my home town at a time when I needed it.’ Kill Your Darlings, Best of 2017
‘Claire Aman’s warm and tough debut collection Bird Country carries such technical command that Aman is already an established hand at the form.’ Saturday Paper, Best Books of 2017, Best New Talent