Panthers and the Museum of Fire
Panther & the Museum of Fire is a novella about walking, memory and writing. The narrator walks from Glebe to a central Sydney cafe to return a manuscript by a recently-dead writer. While she walks, the reader enters the narrator's entire world: life with family and neighbours, narrow misses with cars, her singular friendships, dinner conversations and work. We learn of her adolescent desire for maturity and acceptance through a brush with religion, her anorexia, the exercise of that power when she was powerless in every other aspect of her life. 'It is not too much of a stretch to compare Jen Craig's work with the otherwise incomparable WG Sebald.' DEBRA ADELAIDE '...the reader is made aware at once that Craig is a writer of great skill.' KERRYN GOLDSWORTHY Jen Craig's short stories have appeared in various Australian literary magazines. She collaborated with composers of the chamber opera, A Dictionary of Maladies, in Switzerland in 2005. 5 stars Review The year 2015 is only in its early days, but already I know that Sydney writer Jen Craig's novella, Panthers and the Museum of Fire, will be among my top reads for the year. Bold, original and urgent, Panthers is told in a modernist, stream-of-consciousness style by a narrator who is either literally the author, Jen Craig, or a projection constructed for the purposes of the text-something like James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus in a contemporary Ulysses. Craig blurs memoir and fiction as the reader follows Jen, walking from Glebe to Surry Hills to return a manuscript to a deceased friend's relations. On the way, Jen reflects on the text, crediting it with invigorating her sagging enthusiasm for her writing career. As she reflects, however, she also undertakes an excavation of her own psyche, her past and its implications for her future. Panthers is a complex work of fictionalised-memoir in the style of writers such as Karl Ove Knausgaard and Sheila Heti. Fans of Joyce and Virginia Woolf may also be interested, as will many writers, I think. It is an experimental novella but surprisingly easy to read, and brilliant for the very ordinariness of its subject, the everyday reflections of a very human mind throughout the progress of a day. Angie Andrewes is a bookseller and reviewer
Jen Craig s short stories have appeared in various Australian literary magazines. She collaborated with composers of the chamber opera, "A Dictionary of Maladies," in 2005."