When a Monkey Speaks by Damian Sharp
And Other Stories from Australia

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Damian Sharp's rich, hypnotic stories explore the harsh, but often beautiful and mystifying, effects of the Australian bush on those who live there. With a gift for evoking this rough scrub country, Sharp transports the reader into the land of relentless sun, red sand deserts, and rushing muddy rivers of his own youth. His characters inhabit this rugged landscape graced by kangaroos, screeching cockatoos, ants that derail trains, and great goannas. Admirably bold, and blindly determined, these men and women confront themselves as they struggle to deal with issues of race, desire, family, and destiny. Larger than life, yet dwarfed by their dramatic surroundings, they are people whose passionate lives are punctuated by reckless acts of violence and of love. Ena, angrily inhabiting the faded rooms of an abandoned farmhouse, is visited by the persistent ghosts of her many departed lovers. A young boy befriends his father's hired band and learns the violent secret of the aborigine's rite of passage. Two quarrelsome traveling companions wrestle with love and infidelity while crossing the Simpson Desert. An American woman, sent in to investigate a suspected Nazi, has a mystifying encounter in the bush. A father and son test the limits of a strained relationship shadowed by an unspoken past. In a dusty shantytown an old woman lies dying, and Alan Bedford, witness for his father, finally learns the tale of the legendary Big Flo and the Flying Kangaroo.

About Damian Sharp

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Damian Sharp was born in Australia and was the recipient of two Literary Fellowship Awards from the Australian Council for the arts. He is also the author of Simple Feng Shui and Simple Chinese Astrology and has published short stories in periodicals such as the Chicago Review.
Published June 1, 1994 by Harpercollins. 213 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When a Monkey Speaks

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Sharp writes with energy and vitality, as when he describes the bush country through the eyes of a young boy: ``Beyond the swamp the land rose and fell in low embankments, the grass long and dry and bright between the trees, quivering in the heat waves, the light rushing into his eyes from the gl...

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Publishers Weekly

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Dominated by the dramatic landscape of Australia and the emotional emptiness of outback machismo, the 11 stories in this dark debut collection are full of ominous surprises. Sharp, an Aussie living in

May 30 1994 | Read Full Review of When a Monkey Speaks: And Oth...

Publishers Weekly

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Sharp, an Aussie living in San Francisco, favors an introspective, naturalistic approach, blending exposition, internal monologue and intricate description to tell tales that often focus on barely understood family and sexual tensions.

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