Brazen stories about odd mates





Mates and Other Stories By Adrian Blackburn, Shoestring Press, $30 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Blackburn, an Auckland author, has some odd mates. He's written about these men and women very openly, mostly in the first person, and they're all pretty brazen. The first is about a drug deal that goes wrong, there's one about a man about to celebrate his 102nd birthday, and who is waiting less than patiently to die. There's death, life and lots and lots of sex and four letter words. Not for the prudish. Everyone is having it, it seems — with the boss, the ex, casual acquaintances — and there's also plenty of violence. There are 27 stories in all, oddly double spaced and in large font so us old people can enjoy them. Blackburn can definitely write well, but at times you'll feel like you need a cold shower after all that sex, swearing and violence. But the stories are well thought out, with clear voices and plenty of local references. I'm curious to see what he can do in long form, and without all the four-letter words. — Linda Thompson