Book review: The Partisan’s Daughter by Louise de Bernieres

Title: A Partisan’s Daughter
Author: Louis de Bernieres
Published: Harvill Secker 2008

A Partisan’s Daughter is, predominately, a story about a man named Christian in an unhappy and sexless marriage who considers seeking the services of a prostitute for sexual satisfaction. One night he connects with a woman – although she isn’t a prostitute she tells him he couldn’t afford her at $500 for the night. Her name is Roza. They begin an odd friendship with an undertone of unconventional love affair. He visits often and she shares with him her amazing life stories of her relationships and how she had found her way from Yugoslavia to London. They are full of captivating and often traumatic adventures. They are graphic and sexual. Her stories, their intimate moments in her lounge room, her voluptuous body and the hope that one day Christian will have saved up enough money and she may sleep with him, keeps Christian coming back.

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I miss summer time

How I miss you sweet summer
The sweat beads under my breasts
The way they roll down my stomach
The trickle in my armpits
The odour distinct to your sweet summer time
I can’t wait for my face to flush
The burn on my cheeks

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Yoga Retreat, Healesville (May 2016)

Artist: Unknown
Location: Rise Yoga Wellness Retreat, Amarant Retreat
Date: 13 May 2016
Genre: Classical/ Yoga

It’s one hour out of 24 hours designed to overwhelm nothing but the senses.

The hour begins with the placid tempo of a piano playing softly. The hammer strikes down on the strings articulating each note. A purposeful silence falls between each note giving it permission to float in the air, explore the room. When the next note comes, it’s a surprise; it jolts the ears to attention. The bones of the keys crack heavy against each other.

One can hear the foot sliding off the piano pedals with a metallic scraping sound and compressed air escaping in a huff sound. The pianist’s chair cracks in between choruses as he shifts to the unhurried rhythm.

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Melbourne and I

Breaking News (July 2017)

[Please note this story contains some bad language]

A young woman is seen rushing out of a restaurant, waving goodbye to the staff behind the counter. Her name is Layla and no one notices her.

She wears a comfortable plain black top, tights of the same material, a matching hijab and soft-soled shoes. While one hand closes the door behind her, another unties her apron. She peels it off and tucks it into her handbag as she dashes across the road towards the fluorescent lights.

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Mojo Juju, Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre (March 2016)

Artist: Mojo Juju
Location: Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre
Date: 5 March 2016
Genre: Soul/ swing/ blues

It’s a dark, eerie car park in suburbia. There are few cars parked under floodlights. Many more bicycles are secured to surrounding trees. The gig feels like a well-kept secret; only those in outer suburbia could know of what may happen here tonight.

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Low Rent, Retreat Hotel

Low Rent, Retreat Hotel (February 2016)

Artist: Low Rent
Location: Retreat Hotel
Date: 27 February 2016
Genre: Folk/ Country

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in Melbourne and an easy tram ride to the local pub, the Retreat Hotel. Located in the heartland of Brunswick where different nationalities sing to their own song and sometimes out of tune to each other, and the rich buy second hand clothes and reclaim wasted food from dumpsters. A man with long, straight hair, strutting in high heels and a silk dress, welcomes an unconventional crowd.

It’s dark in the front bar of the Retreat Hotel. Small windows let through a glimmer of sunlight, only enough to tell the sober from the drunk. The brown coloured low ceilings match the brick walls and the aged bar; it’s all brown, varied shades of aged and ancient. The air smells like beer that has been carelessly fermenting in the matching brown carpet.

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Melbourne and I

The Wardrobe (January 2016)

The Wardrobe

There is a large package in the centre of the wardrobe. It beckons me.

It’s been worn out at the corners, leaving tiny little holes that I peak through them hoping to get a glimpse.

“Are you dressed?” There is a knock and the door creaks as it takes the weight of her plump body pressed against it, listening for clues of progress.

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