GriffithReview 74: Escape Routes by Ashley Hay [ed]

Review by Richard Tutin

How often have we thought about escaping from our current life situation? It may be getting a new job, moving to a new town or just having a different style of life from the one we are currently locked into.

This edition of the Griffith Review has contributions from writers who explore the possibilities of escaping within a wide variety of scenarios. Established and emerging writers have offered contributions that dig deep into the particular situation where decisions and actions determine what occurs next in the lives of their characters. Sometimes there is success. Other times there is failure. The important thread that links the written stories, articles, poems and picture stories together is the desire to do something in an effort to effect change.

Ashley Hay has brought together a wide variety of writers and poets, both established and emerging. While it’s good to have established writers such as Peggy Frew, Haley Zilberberg and David Ritter offering their take on the theme, it is great having emerging writers such as Declan Fry, Alison Gibbs and Vijay Khurana who with Andrew Roff are the winners of the Griffith Review’s Inaugural Emerging Voices competition.

Being published is the aim of every writer so having contributions from these emerging writers shows their talents and no doubt gives them confidence to continue their writing careers.

Just as deep thought goes into each contribution from their respective author so deep thought tends to dominate the reader as ruminates on the plots and subject matter. Short stories are not always cut and dried when it comes to the outcomes being sought by the characters. We are often left hanging in order to think through what is trying to be achieved. If every story had a defined ending, then it would be very boring indeed.

I particularly related to Alex Mankiewicz’s picture story about the activities and legacies of two Cooks: Captain James and Thomas. James was the renowned navigator and explorer while Thomas founded the first mass travel agency. The Tyranny of Distance captured well the way in which governmental decisions both here and across the world affected the travel plans of many both in the 18th and 21st centuries.

This though does not detract from the efforts of the other contributors. Each one carefully weaves the theme of this edition into their offerings producing thought provoking results.

The lifting of Covid restrictions here in Australia and overseas allows us to plot our escape routes more effectively. It could be a trip to a distant place, finding a new job or redefining relationship and personal perspectives. Whatever it is this Griffith Review offers food for thought and perhaps a little push to act and move on.

Griffith Review is published four times a year by Griffith University Queensland. It aims to debate ideas while informing and provoking Australia’s best conversations. Its editor is Ashley Hay and its publisher is Scott Harrison.

Griffith Review 74: Escape Routes

Ashley Hay (Ed.)

(2021)

Griffith University Queensland Australia

ISBN – 978 1 922212 65 8

$27.99: 220 pp.

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