Digital Publishing Services

(title, author or ISBN)

(Click image for large version)

Stories of Laughter and Lament
Author: John Bryson RRP A$3.99 (Ebook)
Publisher: John Bryson Pub Date: 2014-07-01
BIC Category: Short stories ISBN: 9781922219381
BISAC Category1: FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
BISAC Category2: FICTION / Urban


Stories of Laughter and Lament, set among the filthy rich and the dirt poor, seven stories first selected and published by Penguin Books.
Charles Rand fell off his yacht, somewhere in the middle of the bay, on one of the first pale blue evenings of autumn. Later, the Coroner would be unable to fix that time more precisely than between six and ten o'clock. Newspapers, reporting that he had sailed off without crew, used terms which pictured Charles as a hardy loner. Anyone who knew him smiled at this.
So begins Widows, with the loss of the wealthy husband whom Dorothy Laird had caught, by playing her cards faultlessly, for marriage to the beautiful Elizabeth, her one child. Elizabeth is Dorothy's straight flush. This is the world of the Lairds.
Children Aren't Supposed to be Here at All
Troilus and Cassandra spend their days at a private school, are then alone until their parents come home from the office.
The best view in Sydney, panorama wall to wall, ten thousand dollars a foot. All that view, Troilus said, locks us in.
This is the world of Troilus and Cassandra. Troilus begins to spend more time alone in his room. Troilus has secreted an illegal kitten.
The Routine
An airplane journey, in reverie the narrator reprises scenes from the recent breaking up with his lover. His defence is hard-bitten cynicism. His neighbour in the next seat is spectacularly disabled.
He had a strangely taut face, of indeterminate age. Either thirty-five or very old, pallid cleft chin and lumpy nose. Describe it with artistic integrity:
Bent as a 1930 Labour politician's
Shapeless as a football after a wet game
Hit by a Bondi taxi, the trams were on strike
He is the other guy.
But his shapeless neighbour displays a quiet brilliance with jokes, and likes to play the comedian, as a gift to his companion. Each is uniquely disabled, so a strong current of love begins between them. This is the world of the tragic human comedy.
This is a world of croquet on the lawn, the breeding of horses for dressage, of dogs for the shows, and very little sanity.
It does not seem to be fear of falling which has made her unable, by herself, to move, although she is clinging to the bole of a white gum which overhangs the cliff. She is intent only on a bundle lying on the rocks fifty feet below her. It is the sodden and dislocated body of her daughter's rag doll Cindy. It is to take psychiatrists three months of gentle prying to release from Elinor's mind the belief over which it has closed. This belief is that she has thrown her own child over a cliff.
A son of English Old Money, whose talents so far have won him note as a failure, expects Christmas dinner in Kent to win him derision from his father in front of his entire family.
But Sir George did not wait for Henry Edward Charles to recount, over the remains of the goose, the imminent failure of his second marriage, six years old in January; or the collapse of his racing stable, a draining of the finest blood ever exported from Ireland and New Zealand; or the sale of the few remaining blue-chip investments to pay his slandering creditors so he could remain in his club.
Ticket for Charity
When Charity Lord fell pregnant she told each of the six boys who were that month's quick loving, in turn, as they stumbled from the hotel.
Slow Billy, the dry-country farmer, became the boy who would marry her. He would also become the boy whose life is transformed by her fierce gratitude. Together they worked his heartbreaking farmland until time for the birth.
Melodrama for a Plastic Heroine
A love story. He lives alone, penniless, in a city tenement. He scrapes together enough money to buy himself a wife. She is a life-size inflatable doll whom he pushes about in a wheelchair, shawled, as if she were merely lamed. On the busy sidewalk they do not draw a second's interest.
And here is a vendor selling wind-up toys and balloons and dizzy windmills. He pays for two balloons. They crowd about and make his choosing difficult. He takes time to choose a red and a blue. Their cheeks seem to him to be chubby and irrepressible, and they tug, now, at his hand with the campaigning impatience of small children. He wheels them all away and they set off for the far side of the hill.

Buy this ebook from:

Google Play

iBookstore (Australia)

(Also available on the iBookstore in:
US, Canada, UK, New Zealand,
France, Germany and 44 other countries)

Amazon (Australia)

(Also available from the Amazon stores in:
USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain
Mexico, Brazil, Japan and India )



eBooks also available from 20+ other platforms including Barnes & Noble, and Scribd,
and from libraries via Bolinda, Overdrive, Blio, EBSCO, ProQuest and others.