Jane Jervis-Read’s writing has been published in Overland, Eureka Street and Cordite Poetry Review. Her first book, Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall, won the 2013 Seizure Viva La Novella competition. She lives by Melbourne’s Yarra River with three housemates, six goldfish and ten thousand flying foxes.
Number of Pagesapprox 128 pages
Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall
WINNER OF THE 2013 VIVA LA NOVELLA PRIZE
When Jessica, a recently divorced mental-health carer, meets her new patient, Eloise, their lives quickly become entangled. The boundaries of their roles begin to dissolve and questions from the past are uncovered, revealing the fractured histories that brought them together.
Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall is an original and unpredictable novella about the relationships that consume us when we’re least expecting it.
Praise for Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall by Jane Jervis-Read
‘Jane Jervis-Read’s beautiful little book … kicks above its weight … and shows the power of leaving things unsaid.’ Cate Kennedy
‘Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall impressed me with the boldness, raw sensuality and complex tenderness with which it confronts love and madness.’ Fiona Wright, The Australian
‘At any one time, I have a stack of books awaiting reading on my bedside table, and sometimes, a book will sneak itself to the top of the pile. This beautifully written novella by relative newcomer Jervis-Read is one of them. The book’s real power lies in the author’s exploration of themes such as ageing and desirability, heartbreak, family drama and mental health issues … a great taster from this talented writer.’ Rachel Smith, realitychick.com.au
An excerpt from Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall by Jane Jervis-Read
Eloise wakes before me. She walks to the front door and into the yard. I hear the lid of the mailbox open and shut. Outside, the day is bright, a tram is passing on the main road and, sitting on an electrical wire above the house, a magpie is singing.
When Eloise sleeps she ceases to fret. I know the velvety blinds of her eyelids and the rise and fall of her chest beneath its nightshirt, beneath the sheets – three weeks soiled and waiting for me to change them. But Eloise doesn’t notice.
She is in the kitchen now. The kettle boils and she opens a cupboard which pops from its catch.
It’s time for me to get up, to help her with these things, to make her breakfast – which will be toast because it is always toast. Then she will go to her studio and I won’t be able to waylay her a moment.
‘Shouldn’t you have a shower?’ I will say, and she will turn her head towards me then away and say she had one yesterday.
‘What about brushing your teeth?’
But she will already be walking out the back, screen door sighing closed behind her, slippers scuffing the concrete, spanning the distance between the kitchen and the shed.
The corrugated roof casts a shadow over the entrance. Against the steel wall is flotsam junk: a cracked plant pot, a wheel without its tyre, the rusted frame of a golf buggy. But inside the shed a world awaits. From the window I watch the shadow drink her in.