Michelle de Kretser’s Springtime reads like a clever short story or creative writing project. It has a clear purpose which is well-explored. De Kretser even tells you what she is about to do – she is about to direct your attention in the wrong direction and sneakily trick you into believing that which is not true. Even when looking for it, I still missed the trick in this ghost story.
But don’t be deceived, while short (80 undersized pages) there is some meaty study of human nature here. The alienness of the ghost story is paralleled with the alienness of a new relationship. Frances and her new partner Charlie have moved to Sydney for a new beginning after he left his wife. They are awkwardly finding their way in a new town and in their new relationship. Frances walks her rescue dog Rod through the Sydney gardens when she sees a ghostly figure in one of the neighbouring yards. Not the sort to believe in ghosts, Frances denies the possibility until she attends a dinner party in which they discuss the genre and all its features.
I had to go back and re-read sections to see what she had done. A quick and satisfying read.