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book cover of All Those Ways of Leaving

All Those Ways of Leaving

A Novella by

Four short stories: All Those Ways of Leaving, Box-Shaped Heart, P.E., and Molecule

All Those Ways of Leaving
Lying in her hospital bed, upping her morphine and sucking on her golden hair and tying it into knots, Shelly considers all the ways she's left and all the ways she still might, as well as all the things she's done that make all the things she'll never do--like have a proper mid-life crisis--slightly more tolerable.

Box-Shaped Heart -

"The rain begins again, but softly. Hazing the horizon and drifting in over him. His hair is thick already with salt air so he hardly notices, and all he is aware of is the limits put on him by his short, stabbing breaths and each small step of his feet, kicking up sand. Further today, he'll go further."

Last summer, between university semesters, Aidan took to the beaches and ran, his daily jogs beginning the moment he reached the remains of the old shipwreck in the sand.

This summer, his mother brought him to the coast to convalesce. It's a different word from a bygone age, and it means "To recover one's health." Which Aidan hopes to do, no matter how much pain his new box-shaped heart has introduced into his life, no matter how much eating minestrone exhausts him, no matter how long it takes him to reach the wreck where he used to begin his runs.

People say he should be glad just to be alive, but he's not. He wants more than to be alive. He wants to be alive. He wants to eat pizza and drink dubious wine with his friends. He wants Kimberley, and he wants to be better.

"Mr. Lewis is only physical, only muscle and bone, hard muscle binding big bones into a bad machine. Old and mean, standing over us, stooping over us ox-shouldered, pounding his left hand with his right fist, compact, impacted violence, brute force punched into his hard palm, always too near us, always as though it's only just contained. Flinty old fist into scuffed-leather skin, pounding to make some point, pounding for the sake of pounding, pounding as though it gives him more power, more menace, builds up a charge."

Mr. Lewis has a clipboard and a whistle, and he believes anyone who isn't fit is unfit by choice. He believes he can force his students to make better choices by counting push-ups through their asthma, demanding more laps from them, and in general barking their bad habits into submission.

Sometimes the biggest bully in the schoolyard isn't a classmate; he's a balding, middle-aged lout whose veins bulge at insubordination and spittle flies in fury.

"Later, the six of us will go out dancing. That's what Lisa's telling herself. The six of us will go out dancing, and I'll never, ever have to see you again."

Lisa's day is shot. Her boss has as limited an understanding of the word "ironic" as Alanis Morissette did and the migraine is coming fast. But worst of all her PhD is in jeopardy because her molecule just isn't working the way she needs it to. All she wants to do is bring some dinner home to her boyfriend, Matt, who's working as intensely on his demos as she is on her academic work.

Sometimes, though, the best way to make progress is to see things in a new light. The scientist who discovered the structure of benzene dreamt of it dancing. All Lisa needs, she knows, is a new perspective.

"Earls' prolific oeuvre of 12 novels and two short-story collections has steadily built him an international reputation as a contemporary writer who makes comic yardage--from subtle irony to groan-out-loud gags--out of the emotional entanglements of decent men during episodes of self-evaluation and transformation."
-Sydney Morning Herald

"Contemporary, cliche-free Australian fiction that is sure to have a very wide appeal."
-The Australian


Used availability for Nick Earls's All Those Ways of Leaving

Kindle Editions

June 2012 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: All Those Ways of Leaving & other stories
Author(s): Nick Earls
Publisher: Exciting Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA