‘Broken Rules’ is out!

Barry Lee Thompson’s short story collection, Broken Rules is already proving to be a stunning success. It is to be launched, virtually, by Readings bookstore next Monday 14th September at 6.30pm Eastern Australian Time. Don’t miss out on the chance to hear Barry ‘in conversation’. The event is free, but you need to book: https://www.readings.com.au/event/barry-lee-thompson-in-conversation

Already there has been a range of very complimentary reviews, including in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. The following review was written by Amanda Rayner of Readings Books. We hope to see you at the Launch next Monday.

The short-story collection from a single author is something I have grown to appreciate, especially in the last ten years or so. Australian writers have definitely made their mark in this area, ranging from those works with a strong sense of concept (Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals), those linked by a sense of mood (This Taste for Silence by Amanda O’Callaghan) and those that are simply an impressive, varied collection (Fabulous Lives by Bindy Pritchard). Broken Rules and Other Stories by Barry Lee Thompson (who was born in Liverpool but now lives in Melbourne, so we’re claiming him!) touches on all these approaches but is its own unique collection and brought unexpected tears to my eyes in the closing pages.

Broken Rules and Other Stories is described as seventeen interlinked stories. I found coming to each story individually and not worrying too much about how it should ‘fit’ resulted in me slowly seeing the possible links between them. By the time I read the final and longest story, ‘Angel’, I had developed my own perspective on how these stories worked together, which bought a sense of closure for me as a reader. The stories cover two main themes. The first focuses on stories from gay male perspectives: fantasies as a young boy, first approaches, random encounters with strangers, sex work, and the continuing search for true intimacy. Scattered between these stories is a group of tales that centre on family dynamics, with a particular focus on the relationship between mother and son.

Regardless of connections the individual reader may make between the stories, there is not one weak link. All pieces capture your attention quickly and none outstay their welcome. It is Thompson’s ability to create a vivid sense of place and tone that makes this an exciting (although sometimes unsettling) reading experience. At this point I am still wondering if I can forgive the author for the terrifying pictures in my head after reading the opening story!

Meet the Author

And finally in today’s trio of dispatches to mark the release of Broken Rules, here’s a recent post from Margaret’s blog where she shares a Q&A Barry did with In Their Own Write.

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

Barry Lee Thompson, member of Elwood Writers, has a guest interview in relation to his newly released book, Broken Rules and Other Stories. The interview features on the website, ‘In Their Own Write’.

Barry talks about his writing process. For him there is no such thing as writer’s block. If he gets stuck, he works on something different for a while, dipping in and out of stories.

‘I don’t sit down for lengthy periods in front of a page, but dip in and out through the day. Writing is a series of problems. I walk a lot, and think a lot, and sit and daydream, and ideas and solutions arrive in those moments.’ 

Barry addresses other topics pertinent to writers, but today let’s just look at what to do if we get stuck on something. Dabble with another piece, for instance, try something new, go for a walk. Let…

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Book launch invitation

Here’s the info on Barry’s online book event for Monday 14 September. We’re looking forward to attending.

Barry Lee Thompson

Broken Rules and Other Stories

Join me on Monday 14 September at 6:30pm when I’ll be chatting about my new book with fellow Transit Lounge author Catherine de Saint Phalle. This is an online event with Readings, and free to attend, though booking is required to get the Zoom link on the day. Details and booking info can be found here.

Just a reminder that the book’s official release is next week but it’s now in stock at Readings and available from the Transit Lounge website.

Happy reading. See you soon.

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Reasons to be cheerful

Congratulations to Barry on yesterday’s official release of Broken Rules. Definitely a cause for celebration. That dolphin had the right idea.
We’ll post some info on an upcoming online launch event shortly.

Barry Lee Thompson

Supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and by Varuna, the National Writers’ House.

The sun’s shining. I saw a seal or dolphin splashing about in the Maribyrnong River this morning. It’s the first day of spring and I’ve been smelling jasmine in the local laneways for days now, even through the fabric of my facemask. And it’s publication day. Yippee! Broken Rules is officially released.

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