As a small independent press based on the traditional country of Darug and Gundungurra people, in what is known as The City of Blue Mountains, Rochford Press is very proud to publish Chimera by Jane Skelton as part of its ongoing chapbook series. This elegant book, which combines the mesmerizing stories and poems of a long time Mountains resident with original artwork by local artist Louise Kerr, was printed in Katoomba.
Jane’s first book Lives of the Dead and Other Stories was published in 2013 by Spineless Wonders. Her long story Flying Foxes was short-listed in the Carmel Bird Award and published as an eBook, also by Spineless Wonders. Her stories and poetry have appeared in a wide range of literary magazines and anthologies including Overland, Island Magazine, Going Down Swinging, Hecate and the Margaret River Press short story collection.
Jane Skelton’s work is disturbingly real but defamiliarises the familiar. Everything close is made distant, whether it be family members, random people, foreign cities or landscapes. It follows in the tradition of Modernist female writing where The Real is not a tidy narrative. The Australia in this book is a secret Australia – one we all know but don’t like to think about too much. Narrative threads remain ‘incomplete’ and highly suggestive. The haunting visual works by Louise Kerr perfectly match the tone of the text. Along with Jane’s other work, this book is another important addition to Australian writing. – Anna Couani
These short pieces in poetry and prose are assembled into a heterogenous collection. Like the titular chimera, it forms a strange body composed of cells from different organisms pointing to the horizon of a whole – another kind of chimera altogether: one whose parts also resist being absorbed into a recognisable and finite totality. This work shimmers like reflecting shards of an ungraspable world, visible only in sharp fragments, a moment, a memory, one piece at a time. – Professor Anna Gibb, Western Sydney University
In this age of dumbing down, of homogenising thoughts and experiences, these intricately-written stories allow us to experience difference through the lens of travel, movement and landscape. The author takes us places we might not want to go and shows us there is nothing to fear there. A collection of intelligent, compassionate stories and poems about a fuller range of human experience. – Linda Godfrey
Jane Skelton’s poems and stories speak of the little desolations of ordinary life in an ex-
ploration of forms and ideas that is positively thrilling. I particularly love her fresh and
considered reflections on rural Australia. – Walter Mason
Page count: 32
Publication date: December 2020
Cover image and illustrations: Louise Kerr
Designer: Narelle Adair Coxhead
Editor-in-Chief: Linda Adair