Personal Fable

I never thought I would read something that would move me as much as Personal Fable did.
★★★★★ Missy @ MyWeeReads

I was captivated from the start and couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to read it again and digest it more slowly.
★★★★★ Peter Ruys Reviews

Palatable and short and easy to read. It makes no pretensions about its theme, and yet it is written in refreshingly poetic prose. A capital success.
R.B.R Verhagen

REVISITING THE LOOPING lake track that morning felt so horribly nostalgic that it stirred in me, with its crackle of shifting limestone under each footfall, the feeling of an old betrayer begging at my heels for forgiveness, desperate to reconnect with me, and I found it easy to deny. After all these years, I thought, all these years gone, and now you start begging. And you still don’t feel like home.

I listened to the hissing breeze over the lake, the cawing of a morning scavenger and the beating of its wings against a bin, seagulls too, somewhere distant, and I longed for something else: the eerie morning quiet of Tokyo, the impossible absence of human noise in an infinite city.

Terminal’s sun rested warm against my chest. Now you come begging, hey... Now... But I’d long since harboured a divorced feeling from this place; the overgrown retirement village that was Terminal. What had it ever done for me anyway? And when I’d finally come to think the place was put behind me, that the last link between us was buried, the door to it shut, well... here I was. Home again.

The lake track was a shortcut into town, and at its northern edge there was a long forward stretch, so straight you could walk it with your eyes closed - a stunt I had perfected in my too-long youth - and reaching that straight I closed my eyes, trying to replace one quiet for another, imagining I was still wandering the streets of Japan. But the crunching under my feet, the lake’s sulfuric smell, the sloshing trees; it was a different silence. It didn’t sound the same.

God, will I ever escape?

It was unsettling and peaceful all at once, to walk with closed eyes – even knowing there was nothing to trip on for a mile ahead – and suddenly with my eyes closed I was connected with a younger me, thinking the same string of thoughts as ever; there’s nothing to fear, if you’re veering off the track you’ll feel grass, so just put one foot in front of the other and repeat. But I found it hard to trust myself, and though I knew I wasn’t in any real danger, I felt the rush of a gamble, the fear of the unknown, and to walk became a harrowing and dizzying feat, and a little smile lifted my cheeks.

Automatically my eyes came open when tyre-squeals called from a mile off like an alarm tone jeering at me, refusing to let me lapse away into my past…

The screeching turned to loud revving, then grew distant. Some wanker in a ute, no doubt.

The air stretched on and on around me. Clean air. Pure. Well, you’d hope so; that was one of my stronger selling points for Jen. Clean air. Another was the stars at night. I’d told her all about them one night not so long before in Yokohama, where we lay on the wharf and counted all of the sixteen visible stars. ‘That’d be impossible, back home,’ I told her. ‘The stars are endless in Terminal.’

Endless! Ha! What a salesman. It’s all endless. Endless air, endless everything. Endless and pointless. How sly must I have been, that I twisted this place into something enticing...

Before me the sunrise-ending straight stretched on, the spine between water and earth, its impossible length taunting me onward, and what I wouldn’t have given to turn a corner and be in another city, another busy laneway in which to wonder just from where those skyscrapers suddenly burst, or if they’d been there all along. To hop a train and be in a different crowd, or to berate my senses with newness in any given door of the millions. But there was no corner to turn here, not for miles in any direction. It just kept going, trapping you in its openness, trapping you in open prisons new and new. My hometown.

Soon I arrived at my father’s grave and I stood there and I shuffled awkwardly, hands stuffed in pockets, still the same thing missing as always. What I wouldn’t have given to have him ruffle up my hair and say he understood.

* * *

Ander Louis

Literary Fiction - Hardcover Novel, 2020

Jen never came home from work. In a small town like Terminal, isolated on the rural Victorian coast, there weren't many places she could be hiding. But as the missing persons case grows cold, her partner Thomas will become dangerously determined to find her.

Personal Fable is available now via Up & Up Media.