Close to Home
Stories of life, love & family from the bestselling author of Baby Love
A distraught father is prevented from comforting his little boy. A baby’s life is put in danger by a well-meaning but offbeat couple. Two mothers fight each other for the love of their son. A couple’s desperation for a child leads to a chain of unpredictable events …
Robin Barker’s fascination with families over the last six decades – their hopes and disappointments, loves and deceits – is superbly captured in ten acutely observed stories of anguish and triumph.
Praise for Close to Home by Robin Barker
‘Fresh, bold stories that stay in the reader’s mind long after they’ve ended.’ Debra Adelaide
‘Barker has a flair for dramatic structure and a lightness of touch. These 10 stories of family dilemmas and dramas have the ring of authenticity. From the tale of the two mothers to the story of the neglected baby and everything in between, Barker’s empathetic, intimate knowledge and understanding shine through as she explores and unravels her characters’ dilemmas.’ Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald
‘[Robin Barker’s] debut collection of short stories benefits from some of the no-nonsense open-mindedness she uses to such great effect in her non-fiction. The collection is chronologically ordered and the earliest stories are pithy vignettes from an idea of Australia that has vanished into history. Barker evokes this with great atmosphere and without nostalgia; the warts and wrong thinking remain on view. The highlight of these is perhaps Black Cat, the story of a young housewife married to a policeman, who makes friends via a pet with her Aboriginal neighbour in inner-Sydney Chippendale. It captures beautifully her isolation, and the intense friendship between neighbours that is nonetheless dependent on proximity for its survival. Better is First Love, a beautifully threaded story of a surrogate pregnancy. Her style bears some resemblance to Alice Munro in that it doesn’t appear as style at all; the best of these stories seem to fall out in fragments or as wholes.’ Ed Wright, The Australian