Debra Adelaide: Zebra

Heralding the first of two collections by Debra Adelaide published by Picador this year, Zebra consists of thirteen short stories and one singular novella.

Organised by first, second and third person narrative, all showcase Adelaide’s particular talent, reminiscent of the gimlet-sharp observations of Lorrie Moore or Lucia Berlin, for crafting the miraculous from the everyday moment. Her beguiling talent for the pitch-perfect sentence and an often mordant sense of humour make for a magpie’s nest of stories where personal, political and emotional crises are pinned and examined, but not necessarily resolved…

A body buried in a suburban backyard, a suicide pact worthy of Chekhov, the last days of Bennelong, a love affair born in a bookshop, a parent’s grief, instructions for surviving the family Christmas without bloody murder, and a very strange gift of a most unusual prime minister…

The eponymous novella, the final entry in this collection, envisages a subverted political landscape where our nation’s leaders are neither power-hungry nor indifferent to the plight of those less fortunate.

Debra Adelaide’s imagined PM is even somewhat apolitical and forgiving, a hands-on, incontrovertibly human character. She landscapes the grounds of the Lodge to include a maze (and a playground). She fights with the neighbours. She keeps a zebra in the shed. She entertains notions of escape…

Debra Adelaide is the bestselling author and editor of fifteen books, including the novels The Hotel Albatross, Serpent Dust, The Household Guide to Dying and The Women’s Pages and the edited collections Motherlove, Cutting the Cord, Acts of Dog, A Bright and Fiery Troop and The Simple Act of Reading.

In 2013, she published her first collection of short stories, Letter to George Clooney (longlisted for the Stella Prize). Picador will also publish a collection of her criticism and bibliomemoir in late 2019. She has been sold into several territories worldwide.

Currently an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney where she teaches creative writing, Adelaide has also held roles as a researcher, book reviewer and literary award judge and she is the founder and managing editor of the Empathy Poems – an online collection of poems of compassion for refugees and people seeking asylum around the world.

Zebra is published by Picador and is available from all leading book retailers including Booktopia.

Image: Debra Adelaide: Zebra (supplied)