The Silence of Loss

Smyth, Elizabeth (2023) The Silence of Loss. In: McInnes, Jeanette, Birt, Virginia, Wagner, Lenka, and Newey, Phil, (eds.) On Butterfly Wings. Tropical Writers Anthology, 9 . Tropical Writers, Cairns, QLD, Australia, pp. 100-105.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only



[Extract] SUZI SURGES FORWARD, HER THONGS IRONING LEAF LITTER, TOES clutching rubber like leeches. Her mouth hangs open. Brown curls threaten to bury a face devoid of circulation. Her vision narrows. I'm going for a walk, her son had said a few minutes ago. He can't have gone far.

A cluster of leaves sweeps across Suzi' s face as she follows a path through the forest. A three-year-old had disappeared from his home last year. The child had been out of sight for only a few minutes. Abducted by a paedophile and murdered, they said. The police searched everywhere, but he was never found. Never found.

Research Statement

Research Background In the late twentieth century, Australian literature shifted from nationalism to regionalism and to a greater diversity of voices and representation (Mead, 2009). More recently, critics have challenged geographical boundaries of for collating regional literature to instead consider specific land uses (Hughes d’Aeth, 2017), geomorphology (Potter & Magner, 2018) or bioregions (Smyth, 2022). Such attention to regional writing intersects with criticism about ‘place’ and place-making (Hamilton, 2018; Mudell, 2018; Kossew, 2004; Rhett, 2020). To build on this work, I ask how a creative writer can reflect elements of contemporary society while invoking a specific ‘place’?
Research Contribution “The Silence of Loss” is a short story that conveys the experience of a single woman, Suzi, while navigating the potential loss in a remote location of her young son, Leo. This story juxtaposes a loss of human relationships with the human loss of control in the Australian ‘bush’. The setting of the Dinden National Park is under-represented in Australian literature, despite part of Caroline de Costa’s Double Madness (2015) being set there. As an exploration of a woman’s experience of the bush, “The Silence of Loss” echoes a literary history of women’s suffering in remote and regional Australia, such as Barbara Baynton’s short stories (Barrett, 2003). However, a contemporary setting enables the use of 21st century society of media-fed fears of child abduction.
Research Significance This work uses fiction to explore how some non-Indigenous women engage with non-human nature to obtain comfort yet are unsettled due to a lack of knowledge of Country. The story was published in On Butterly Wings, the 2023 anthology of Tropical Writers Inc, where it adds to a wide collection of stories by contemporary writers of Far North Queensland. The text contributes a literary experience of a 21st century woman in the bush and adds an original voice to the literature of Australia’s Wet Tropics Bioregion.
Item ID: 79897
Item Type: Book Chapter (Creative Work)
ISBN: 978-0-646-86980-3
Keywords: Creative writing, North Queensland
Related URLs:
Copyright Information: © Tropical Writers Inc 2023.
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2023 05:52
FoR Codes: 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3602 Creative and professional writing > 360201 Creative writing (incl. scriptwriting) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130103 The creative arts @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130203 Literature @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 5
Last 12 Months: 1
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page