Ten people. Twelve days. One killer.
Ten people meet for a reunion at a remote castle, organised by a preacher who once held them in a Christian cult. One by one, the old friends are brutally murdered, and yet their killer remains hidden in their very midst.
Rafe attends the reunion at the castle for one reason only: to settle once and for all how he really feels about his childhood obsession, Suzanne. Rivalry reignites at the outset as the men who all loved and fought over Suzanne are brought together once more.
Is Suzanne the reason for these serial killings?
Is the murderer a jealous unrequited lover?
Or is she the femme fatale with a bloody agenda?
To save his life, Rafe becomes the unwitting sleuth when A winter storm traps the ten guests in the castle that contains a museum of medieval torture devices. As the members of the group fall victim to bizarre deaths involving the torture instruments, the murderer leaves messages for the remaining survivors. Tension mounts. Rafe must play this deadly game in order to identify and neutralise the hidden serial killer before he himself becomes the next victim.
In this internationally-acclaimed collection of contemporary literary fiction stories by Paul Williams we are invited to appreciate what it means to master the art of losing – to let go of things both big and small – whether it be dreams, or love, or houses, or whole continents. Told with wit, humour and pathos, the stories reveal the unexpected narratives that often flow beneath the surface of contemporary lives.
The twenty stories lurch from continent to continent across Australia, Europe and South Africa, from child to teen to adult, from past to present, from war to peace, from me to you.
I read the book today, oh boy. From the Beatles to Baghdad, from bombings in
Magoo’s to birthday balloons in Balham, these stories rocked me. The characters suck you in and spit you out. Powerful writing with twists and turns and no sign posts. Fantasy and fact are weaved
together tighter than a magic carpet.
Danny Anderson lives in Sulphide, a copper mining town in the outback of Australia. Taking refuge from a gang of bullies who tortures animals, he and his two friends Jennifer and Gustave discover a parallel universe through a cave. In this universe, bullies are eaten by the animals they torture, Animal Police arrest people for the crime of cannibalism (eating meat), and pain inflicted on others is felt by the perpetrators.
But far from being the Eden they first envision, it is a frightening world where justice is harsh. They escape into a series of worlds, but each parallel universe is worse than the previous one, until they discover a perfect utopia, where—it seems—everything they wanted the world to be is true: animal suffering is abolished, humans live in harmony with nature, and justice is done—but not all is as perfect as it appears.
Parallax by Paul Williams is a
children’s adventure book that features the Animal Police (AP) Unit: Danny sees himself as the Clark Kent alter ego of Superman; Jennifer is the defender of truth; and Gustave is the brains
behind the vision. The job of the AP Unit is to defend the animals and insects, from a kangaroo and a fox to an ant.
Parallax is a sort of Tom Sawyer meets Gulliver's Travels, with a little Brave New World and
1984, thrown in. The story is well written and concise. The hero of the story is Danny, and idealistic young boy, growing up in a grimy Australian mining town of Sulphide. He dreams of a world
where people respect life, especially animal life.
From da kokroach point of view, humans are irrelvant. Kokroaches no like em. Doan want em. Do not even tink bout em. Doan care for deh conversations. Books we like to eat, not read. We wish humans dead so we can eat em too. — Sizwe Bantu, The Cockroach Whisperer, 2010.
Sizwe Bantu is the Greatest African Writer of All Time – according to Timothy Turner, failed academic and lover, who not only lives by Bantu’s words but keeps a giant rubber cockroach in homage to the writer of the renowned ‘cockroach stories’.
Inspired to travel to Bantu country, Timothy takes up a position at a university near the place rumoured to be the reclusive writer’s residence in the misty Zululand hills. Instead of drawing closer to his source of inspiration, Timothy is drawn into a Machiavellian world of campus politics and suppressed desire.
As Timothy grapples with the mystery surrounding Makaya, the academic he has replaced, and the demands of his students, particularly the attractive Tracey, he must confront his own paranoia, prejudice and insecurity in a search for the shocking truth.
"A brilliant satire of letters" — Elizabeth McKenzie
"A strange, funny, intelligent and quite unforgettable novel. What Flaubert did for parrots, Mr Williams has done for the humble roach." — Jeffrey Poacher
"While predominantly a satire …, Cokraco also works as a madcap mystery [that] generate[s] effective suspense – of the B-grade horror film variety." — Amy Brown