Australian Fiction

November 2018

Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop cover

Loops and Layers

Time is fluid in Stephanie Bishop’s new novel Man Out of Time, an intimate portrait of a family breaking down. The narration is split between the points of view of Stella, her mother Frances, and her father Leon. Bishop captures the fluctuations of her characters’ consciousnesses so closely that the reader experiences narrative time in loops and layers as memories are uncovered and reintegrated into her characters’ thoughts. Leon is the man ‘out of time’ as he tries to salvage the family unit; his own perception of time is distorted by mental illness; and he ultimately runs out of time to save his own life.

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Taking Back the Island

Too Much Lip is, of course, not the first novel to include family violence or to expose its colonial roots. There are, however, risks with telling stories like these. Non-Indigenous readers could fail to recognise the strength of culture to mitigate intergenerational trauma, and not understand its roots in colonial violence and systemic racism. Some readers might see the Salters through an over-used deficit model, or believe they have the solutions to ‘fix’ Indigenous families. Instead, the Salters’ story shows how ineffective governments have been in trying to patch up the wounds of colonisation through paternalistic and draconian approaches.