Fish-Hair Woman - Novel
A transnational novel (Philippines and Australia) on militarization.
Prologue: The howling bounces around the trees used for coffins. It climbs to a mournful pitch, slopes down and tapers to a whimper. Then it starts again, the same distressing ascent and decline. Sometimes it simply keels over. I, Luke McIntyre, assure myself it's not me but I feel the strain in my throat. I swallow, gripping the sheaf of papers. And anyway they can't hear. They are the handful of passengers flying to Manilla, the soft-spoken, soft-soled lot of them. It's business class and the mood is affluent restraint, like a signature hush. I drum the seat in front of me with my sandals. Someone murmurs her annoyance. Quickly a steward appears to serve the nicest admonishment against the drumming or the fraying sandals, who knows. Bloody snoot! The howling starts again. It dives into the river and I can't breathe. The water fills my mouth, my throat, my lungs. It is sweet, it is very sweet.
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