Like Being a Wife
Flitting from Sydney to Melbourne, Canberra to California, this loosely linked collection of stories shines a bright fluorescent light on family, friendships, work, love and loss.
Catherine says: 'I love the way we're all so imperfectly human. We can't help but misbehave. This is the central concern of the stories, how we grapple with our good and bad selves. Some of the pieces address this theme directly while others use a good dose of humour to get the medicine down. The stories also address the issue of place and placelessness, the ways we try to create literal and metaphorical homes for ourselves.'Catherine Harris
's short stories and essays have been published in Australia, Canada, England and the USA. She won the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize for short story in 2009. Like Being A Wife was shortlisted for the 2009 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards for an unpublished manuscript. Catherine is currently working on a novel, supported by a grant from the Australia Council.
Like Being a Wife
Random House Australia
Author: Catherine Harris
Interview with Catherine HarrisQuestion:
Tell us about Like Being a Wife?Catherine Harris
: It's a collection of short stories loosely linked around the theme of commitment. Each of the stories takes a key moment and examines the lengths the characters are prepared to go to maintain or change their situation. I love taking seemingly ordinary people or situations and highlighting their absurdities. Aside from it being entertaining, absurdity is something we all experience and understand. Of course, that lack of control is also the core of tragedy and can be enormously distressing. So it's often a fine line. But humour can be a great device for treading that line.Question:
What inspired you to write the stories in Like Being a Wife?Catherine Harris
: I didn't set out to write a book. The collection really formed itself as I returned to several themes and characters, giving the book a unity over time. My style has been described as spare and sardonic. I don't think of it as particularly minimal or droll, but I do know that I get impatient reading too much description and I gravitate towards people with a naughty sense of humour. I suspect I write like I read, skipping anything too flowery and trying to leave out the boring bits.Question:
What interests you about short stories?Catherine Harris
: They're like a puzzle, a conundrum that the writer has to unpack and solve. I enjoy taking all those pieces and moving them around until I come up with what feels like a proper solution. Implicit in that scenario is a question, of course. And life is full of questions.
Interview by Brooke HunterBuy it now at