Dear Ibis (Kate Liston-Mills, Spineless Wonders)
From the author of The Waterfowl Are Drunk! comes an elegant and moving collection of short fiction set principally in New South Wales. With stories taking place against the backdrop of the 2019–2020 bushfires, stories that explore the tenderness and longing of first love, and stories that explore the ache of motherhood (through the eyes of wetland birds), Dear Ibis is a gentle and deeply affecting collection that is resonant of our times. In addition to drawing on the cultural zeitgeist, the strength of this collection comes from its connection to author Kate Liston-Mills’s life. As well as sharing her familiarity with the demands and difficulties of life as a teacher, Liston-Mills also fictionalises her own experience with disability; having recovered from an acquired brain injury in 2004, she gracefully explores the impacts of an injury invisible to the naked eye. Like works by authors such as Tim Winton, Josephine Rowe and Alice Bishop, Dear Ibis is dizzyingly honest and refreshingly authentic. Liston-Mills imbues her work with the poignancy of parenthood, loss and longing, and her characters will walk alongside you long after you have turned the final page.
Georgia Brough is a bookseller, critic and writer based in Melbourne.