How a Moth Became a Boat and other things

I bought Josephine Rowe’s How a Moth Became a Boat at its Melbourne launch and managed to finish reading it in the semi-darkness of the Willow Bar. Some of Josephine’s delicate phrases have already nested in my mind: ‘Belarus a bruise above her knee’ (‘Maps’); ‘When I hand him his ticket and his change I am always conscious of my wrists’ (‘Work’).

However, it is ‘Love’ that I like the most. In ‘Love’, Josephine doesn’t try to cover up a difficult father-daughter relationship with beautiful imagery but carefully measures out each word, and the few hard details she offers are weighted with meaning:

He is teaching her how to break bottles against the side of the house. A whisky bottle works best, he tells her. She thinks this is very lucky, because that is what they have the most of—he has spent the last few weeks emptying them. 

I hope I’ll get to see her perform ‘Love’ one day. Until then, I’ll have to settle for ‘Maps’, which currently seems to be Josephine’s favourite performance piece:


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