- Publication date:1 October 2015
- Format:B format paperback
- Genres: genre fiction, poetry
- Age guide: Older Readers, 11+
For Rich & Rare
Rich & Rare
Edited By Paul Collins
A collector of computer games, a knitting needle ninja, a violin that comes to life, a cat with many names, a love that cannot be bought, a prince who finds a friend, an alien invasion…
Welcome to a world of ‘beauty rich and rare’, a world of natural (and unnatural) gifts on every page – from humour to horror, thriller to fantasy – encompassing the past, the present and the future.
Our ‘young and free’ creators include: Michael Gerard Bauer, Gary Crew, Justin D’Ath, Scot Gardner, Kerry Greenwood, Libby Hathorn, Leigh Hobbs, Sofie Laguna, Kirsty Murray, James Roy, Shaun Tan and Gabrielle Wang.
Bianca Laidlaw –
A good book should be like a decent pair of shoes; essential to the living of a comfortable life, worn-in from constant use, favoured over others, shared among friends and have the ability to lead you to foreign places. ‘Rich & Rare,’ the newest anthology from Ford Street Publishing, definitely ticks all the boxes.
Jam packed full of 40 short stories and poems and illustrations to match, this book is perfect for any situation or mood. Need a bit of philosophical thinking whilst curled up on the couch? ‘Thingless’ by Scot Gardner will make you reassess how you live life and redefine your interpretation of homeless. Want something more serious and sombre? The tale of a broken family whose oldest child falls off the rails in Tracy Hawkin’s ‘I Can’t Sleep’ makes you thankful for your own family. George Ivanoff’s ‘Music of the Pod People’ gives an account of what life may soon be like with futuristic technology, but with an unnerving outcome. If you’re in need of some courage, in ‘You’re Dead, Jason Delaney,’ Bill Condon shows us that even though Jason has the big bully Sarah after him, there’s more than one way to solve to problem.
This compilation is what everyone needs on their bookshelf. Suitable for all ages with James Roy’s ‘Carpet Capers’ being a down to earth story the kids will love and laugh with, to the dark and thrilling ‘Mr Lovechild’ by Gary Crew that will cause anyone who reads it to rethink their actions. It will supply you with romance in the form of Julie Fison’s ‘Sugar is Sweet’, make you cry after experiencing a life taken too soon in ‘The Bravest Person I Know’ by Archimede Fusillo, but have you in stiches after reading ‘Tournament of Taste’ where Adam Wallace shows us that revenge is sweet indeed. It covers all the bases with many historical, fantasy, supernatural stories and poems also.
Sophie Masson states in the foreword that ‘An anthology can be compared to a patchwork quilt, sewn by many hands. Each piece in the patchwork is different… has its own individuality and could exist on its own. Such differentness, such separateness should mean that it’s impossible to put them together. But of course, that isn’t true. A patchwork quilt sewn by many hands is a beautiful not despite but because it is made of distinctive piece, created by different people.’
‘Rich & Rare’ gives you a glimpse of how authors, illustrators, characters, differing worlds and genres can all work together to produce something that sings in perfect harmony. This book allows the reader to browse through and dive into its selection of fictional and factual locations, characters and situations, differing with every story. I commend Paul Collins for the work and effort he has evidently put into this book, as well as all the people the he works alongside, creating this beautifully crafted patchwork quilt of poems short stories.
Emily Meldrum –
In truth, there aren’t many books over 450 pages that you are able to read across a six month period without losing a grip on the character development or plot line. Rich and Rare is the title chosen for a collection of short stories, poems and artworks by Australians and is perfect for busy wanna-be-readers! So while life got in the way a little for me while reading this book it has demonstrated a definite strength in the individual stories chosen for this anthology – they are funny, unpredictable at times, imaginative and chilling! With stories commendably organised by genre, readers may choose to read cover to cover or by selecting the themes that appeal to them. With 48 contributors submitting pieces towards this publication it is a wonder the book isn’t twice as long!
Sophie Masson has written the foreword and accurately likens this book to a patchwork quilt, “… made of distinctive pieces, created by different people”. Forty-five literary pieces in total make up the anthology of Rich and Rare, some are short and some long, but the diversity in each piece is as contrasting as the authors themselves. There’s the story about illusion at the Xi’an terracotta warriors that questions plausible facts that we take for granted in our everyday worlds, the volunteer searching for a missing bushwalker with a cliff-hanger ending, the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful glass blue egg and the uncovering of a household mystery. I loved the story about a ghost in a stereoscope, but was it my favourite? I’m not sure, as there was so much to enjoy about so many of these stories. The writing styles have not been forced together but sit comfortably side by side adding to a rich tapestry of stories that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Many of the stories are accompanied by artworks, and these black and white additions are sparsely spread throughout the book also adding to the book’s visual interest.
I am keen to revisit this book and will keep it close by for a while. Next time I fancy picking and choosing stories to read either by title or author. As a teacher myself, I can readily imagine the delight by which my secondary colleagues will fall upon this anthology as a collection of short stories by quality Australian authors to spring board lessons into genre, specific writing styles, techniques and the craft of writing itself. Children and adults alike are able to read at a pace that suits them, and while six months may not be an ideal length of time to read a book I applaud Paul Collins and Ford St on a great collection sure to appeal to everyone with ten or fifteen minutes to spare here and there!
Robyn Donoghue –
Rich and Rare is an anthology edited by Paul Collins which lives up to its title. It is a rich collection from an extraordinary array of Australian authors and illustrators, who offer up rare genius in the telling. There is something for every type of reader: Contemporary, Adventure, Crime, Romance, Historical, Graphical and many more genres are represented. Every piece is also complemented by stunning artwork.
George Ivanoff gives a modern spin to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers with his eerie science fiction story “Music of the Pod-people”. Gary Crew offers a tale of haunting with a twist in the ghost story “Dr Strangelove Regrets”, while Adam Wallace’s hilarious story of revenge in “Masters of Chefery – A Tournament of Taste” will leave both fans and detractors of cooking shows bemused and satisfied.
Jelindel is hoodwinked by a witch-girl in a rare moment of vulnerability in Paul Collins’ fantasy story “The Black Sorrows”. She is left fighting for her life in the darkest of places. Michael Hyde’s “Vinegar Straps” exposes the brutality that ran rife in the education system during the days of corporal punishment, and the sheer terror that was instilled into the students facing such unjust and sickening torture.
Lucy Sussex’s “Angelito”, captures the horror of being followed home by a child corpse during the Mexican Day of the Dead festival- while Meredith Costain’s “what i am /, what i am not”, Michael Wagner’s “The Eversad Boy” and Sherryl Clark’s “Story World” offer quite contrasting styles and messages in their poetic pieces. It is the short but poignant piece written and illustrated by Marc McBride that truly captures the rich and rare quality of this collection, titled “Doodling”, it simply tells of a grandmother’s wise words passed on to her grandchild in times of need.
The strange and intriguing cover by Shaun Tan captivates the eye and draws you in, it piques the curiosity, encouraging you to take a peek inside. With over 45 well known Australian contributors including Hazel Edwards, Kirsty Murray, Scot Gardner, Phillip Gwynne, Libby Hathorn, Justin D’Ath, Sofie Laguna, Gabrielle Wang and many more, this book is a credit to the editor Paul Collins. Containing an insightful foreword by Sophie Masson, this book belongs in every household, school and library collection.
Tim Harris –
Quality short story anthologies can be a rare delicacy these days. It is well then that Ford St has published Rich & Rare: A Collection of Australian Stories, Poetry and Artwork, a delightful smorgasbord of Aussie talent that’s sure to have something for any reader to enjoy. Whatever your poison, be it side-bursting comedy, edge-of-your-seat action, drama that hits you right in the guts, delectable mysteries or sweet slice-of-life style pieces, this anthology has it. While many of the themes are particularly relevant for younger readers, the vast majority of these stories have enough depth and subtlety to satisfy palates both old and young. This combination of relevance to younger readers along with plenty of complexity to pick apart makes these stories as appropriate for classroom use as they are for general enjoyment.
The collection includes some very powerful pieces, such as ‘The Bravest Person I Know’ by Archimede Fusillo which is at once both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Also moving is ‘I Can’t Sleep’ by Tracey Hawkins, which paints a vivid portrait of a family tearing itself apart.
After heavy pieces such as these, the comedic works come as welcome relief. The best of these include Leigh Hobbs’ ‘A Writer’s Morning’, which is greatly enhanced by his illustrations and far too relatable for this recently reformed student, and Michael Pryor’s ‘Magic for Sale’, an extremely relatable fantasy parody which normalises the fantastic and suggests that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
There’s some great non-parodic fantasy too, such as Paul Collins’ ‘The Black Sorrows’ which makes interesting use of a deadline and other thriller elements to force the protagonist out of her comfort zone and raise the stakes of the adventure. Paul O’Sullivan contributes an illustration for most of the pieces, and his artwork for this story in particular really helps to convey the nature of the angel Wind. In ‘The Green Boy’, Kirsty Murray presents a whimsical, Gaimanesque story in which she explores the idea that there could be, or perhaps should be, more to this world than we see and know in a heartwarmingly bizarre tale about friendship.
Doug Macleod mixes in a strong dose of silliness with the creepier elements of his ghost story ‘The Ghost in the Stereoscope’. His characterisation is great, and the story does a good job of exploring its preoccupation with the past, memories, secrets and the relations these things hold with the present. Sean McMullen’s ‘The Time Machine’ is another piece in which the past, memories and legacies are key concerns. With its themes of illusion and the nature of reality along with the mystical weight of the dreams it relates, there’s a lot for VCE English students studying the ‘Whose Reality?’ context to sink their teeth into.
The anthology also contains some interesting poetry. It ends very appropriately with Sherryl Clark’s poem ‘Story World’, which really captures the allure of stories and the adventures they take us on to far away places.
For an overview of some of Australia’s most promising talent and a delectable array of short fiction, Rich & Rare really hits the spot. With something for everyone, I would recommend this anthology for anyone who appreciates a good tale and reads for the joy of it.