All Together Now
Includes the short novel Odd One Out.
Shortlisted for General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2009 Australian Book Industry Awards.
A group of friends on an unconventional diet learn some important life lessons, a fashion-challenged grandmother weaves some magic in a dusty charity shop, a grieving young mother takes a healing journey, and a shy woman from a family of high-achievers learns to follow her dreams.
All Together Now is a collection of Monica’s short fiction gathered between two covers for the first time. Including several of her earliest magazine short stories, contributions to recent anthologies, her warm and witty novella Odd One Out, and two new stories, this is a book to inspire and delight fans of all ages.
Family relationships, sibling rivalry, love lost and love found – these stories touch on the popular themes of Monica’s hugely successful novels, and are brimming with her trademark colour, warmth and humour.
All Together Now
‘Monica McInerney is a writer who makes you feel better. Even when her stories are about the challenges of life and relationships in particular, she manages to knit something worthwhile out of despair …These are stories that will edify and bring a tear to the eye as well. Yes, this can be from laughter at McInerney’s sense of fun and playfulness, but also in the tender observations she makes of the frailty of love and life.’
‘This is a welcome collection of short stories from the Australian best-selling author of Those Faraday Girls. Following her familiar themes of family relationships and sibling rivalries, these are sparkling stories filled with warmth and wit.’
‘McInerney understands what makes a good conventional short story: a revelation, an unexpected twist, a surprise ending. She has made her name as a writer of warm-hearted, family-oriented popular fiction and these stories will please her fans.’
Sydney Morning Herald
‘Monica McInerney writes with great warmth, and with innate understanding of what it is like to be part of a large family…She knows the joys and sorrows of love and lost love, she understands the rivalry which can so easily exist amongst siblings, and she has an observant eye for all human foibles. This is an almost irresistible cocktail, particularly for the rather difficult short story genre. Meet the effervescent Monica McInerney in this volume, and you’ll be chorusing “all together now” in her praise, and watching for more.’
‘Fans of Monica McInerney will lap up her latest… The characters are sympathetically drawn and endearing.’
‘Perfectly timed, this is ideal holiday fodder… a selection of heart-warming short stories and one novella for dipping in and out of between dozes on the hammock. From the grandmother organising people’s lives from the vantage point of an op-shop, to the grieving young mother trying to outrun her guilt, to a pair of sisters and their wedding problems, McInerney sorts out the problems of the world.’
All Together Now
I was eight years old when I wrote my first story, the tale of a family called the Smiths who travel to Perth on a train. After great deliberation, I called it ‘The Smith Family Goes to Perth on the Train’. Thirty-five years later, I’ve realised two things about my writing: one, I don’t need to sum up the entire plot in the title and, two, I’m still intrigued by the same themes – families and the journeys they take, physically and emotionally.
I’m sure I have my childhood to blame. I grew up as the middle child in a family of nine, in what I’d call a cauldron of words. Every day brought drama, laughter and entertainment, all the ingredients I now like to include in my writing.
The stories in this collection were written over the past ten years for magazines, anthologies and the, Books Alive reading campaign, and include two new stories written especially for this book. Gathering them together has been like looking back through a photo album. I can remember where I was when I wrote each one, what idea sparked the story, what was happening in my life, even where the names of characters came from.
A sighting of a girl in full Goth regalia walking beside a make-up-free girl led to ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’. I bought a box of second-hand books in a market one day and found an old book of household tips buried at the bottom. ‘Spellbound’ was written around that time. An article in a magazine about food trends sparked ‘Just Desserts’. I wrote ‘Sweet Charity’ because I had just finished my fourth novel, The Alphabet Sisters, and wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Lola, the fearless and fashion-challenged grandmother at the heart of the story.
Living in Dublin, I often see tour parties around the city. A group of young, happy travellers caught my eye one afternoon. At the back was an older, sadder woman, who seemed apart from the others. I couldn’t get her face out of my mind. ‘The Long Way Home’ was written for her.
‘The Role Model’ was sparked by friends joining a weightloss group and changing, physically and emotionally, before my eyes. Wedding Fever’ came from a neighbour guiltily telling me she’d hired a cleaning lady and had been up all night scrubbing the house before her arrival.
I wrote my novella Odd One Out after seeing a magazine story about a family of artists and painters, illustrated with a glamorous photo of the parents and three beautiful daughters around a table. The caption mentioned casually that there was a fourth daughter who wasn’t pictured. The story of Sylvie, the ‘invisible’ daughter, started to take shape that same day.
Although each of these stories is very different, they all touch on subjects close to my heart: family, friendship, love, travel and adventure. It’s the everyday dilemmas of life that intrigue me, the choices we all face, the mistakes we make, our yearning for happiness and understanding.
I’m delighted to bring my stories between two covers for the first time and I hope you enjoy them all.
Warmest wishes and happy reading.