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03 December 2023

Blurry, magical fare

Greenfly By Tom Lee (SUPPLIED)

By Lisa Williams

Tom Lee's deceptively upbeat tone often belies the dark content of his stories. In the mesmerising collection of tales that is Greenfly, he explores the human psyche.

Greenfly – the first short story – describes a woman who has quit work and spends her days playing computer games and fretting about a greenfly infestation, while her husband becomes infatuated with a glamourous new work colleague.

The final story, Island 21, marks the meticulous routine of a marine stranded on a desert island, whose letters to his beloved reveal a state of mind which contrasts sharply with his organised behaviour.

The border between reality and imagination, sanity and insanity, fidelity and betrayal, and genius and obsession is consistently blurred throughout this book. But Lee's themes are so well-defined that three-quarters of the way through the stories begin to border on predictable.

But while each tale might be formulaic in theme, every one remains daring in setting and fearless in subject.