I first heard of Gunn when I read her novel Rain. An amazing story about childhood and adulthood and the times when the two painfully merge. It was a fantastic book and with the help of film maker Christine Jeffs it was made into an equally fantastic film.
Gunn has an amazing ability to go into the small spaces in life that are slightly uncomfortable. The doubts. The small pangs of regret. The moments that love wains. As a writer she creeps into these tiny gaps and stretches them just large enough to communicate them to the reader. Poetically. Tenderly. Simple concepts, small moments in life, explored. Played with. Put on paper like watercolours: simple, slightly hazy; like a distant memory, yet marvellously cathartic.
Infidelities is a collection of interlinked stories, imbued with the concept of the title: Infidelity. Mothers, husbands, wives, daughters, sons, sisters, lovers. These stories speak for their quiet minds, their inner most feelings that exist only in their heads. These are secrets shared, with us.
Favourites? Well I'd be lying if I said I didn't have any. While all the stories that make up this collection are valid and moving, naturally there are some that spoke to me intimately. A Story She Might Tell Herself touches on motherhood and it's love-rich yet somewhat smothering qualities. The urge that can sometimes be felt amidst the piles of washing, the bedtime stories and the tenacity, to run free. Not away. Not forever. Just free, for a moment. The Wolf In the Road sparks similar emotions but for marriage and monogamy and the monotony that can emerge from it. Tangi encapsulates the idle moments of childhood, made poignant in retrospect. And, The Caravan, a ghost story with Time itself as the lead role. Chilling. Amazing.
Kirsty Gunn is a poetic master of anthropology. And Infidelities is proof of this.
Published by Faber