On Trial: Fly and Other Stories

Posted April 10, 2015 by Kayla in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Fly and Other Stories Book Cover Fly and Other Stories
Anneliese Poelsma
January 12, 2015

Winner of the 2014 Ada Cambridge Prose Prize, ‘fly’ tells the story about a power struggle between two women whose relationship is doomed from the start yet neither can let go, one because of a desire for power and control, the other because of an inability to let go of her need for escapism and change.

‘I live in the bathroom. My husband locked me in here in a fit of rage...’
Winner of the 2002 Verandah Literary Award for fiction, ‘I Live in the Bathroom’ is an unsettling psychological tale about a woman’s disturbing fight to retain her sanity in a domestic setting gone awry. After being locked up by her grieving husband, she takes us on a dangerous journey into the bugs and viruses of the human mind as she struggles to make sense of her reality and the consequences of her dark feelings of jealousy and rejection.

Jennifer... an innocent, socially awkward woman being bullied by her chic office colleagues, or an obsessed, narcissistic stalker capable of the darkest of deeds?

‘Where Maisy Went’
Longlisted for the 2014 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize.
Desperate for a baby of her own, a stroll through the inner city gardens turns into an impromptu kidnapping for middle-aged, mentally challenged Georgia. Ill equipped for the sudden demands of motherhood and with the mind of a child herself, Georgia unwittingly embarks on a journey towards infanticide.

The food the food the food…
‘Skin’ tells the story about the role food can play in the struggle against self-loathing, the fear of rejection and the fight for control and preservation of self in the face of psychological manipulation and abuse. Skin outlines one lesbian woman’s battle to free herself not only from the power of false love but the demands of a society and its concepts of what constitutes feminine beauty.

One man’s search for his family in a busy shopping center becomes a search for meaning and purpose in his life. As he loses hope at every wrong turn and the resulting disasters continually test his lacking confidence, the man must decide if his life is worth the continued struggle against disappointment, disapproval and death.

‘fly and other stories’ explores human strength and fallibility in the face of failed emotional connections. It investigates the fragility of sanity and the desire to hold onto hope, sometimes where there is none. Each character seeks to achieve a sense of self-improvement, freedom and happiness, sometimes successfully, sometimes misguided, sometimes with horrific consequences as they struggle to force their worlds to make sense.


This story was a bit too fast paced for me. It spanned a long time and I felt a bit out of breath while reading it.

The story follows these two women who know they basically have a dead end relationship, one is moving away in 8 weeks. Yet they continue to date and “fall” for each other. When one moves away the other start wasting away. She is unhappy with her life, is over worked and sees the other as a means of escaping her reality yet now that she’s away her emails go unanswered. It’s quite a sad and bitter story and one that many people allow themselves to live in.

I live in the bathroom

I liked this one very much. There’s a sick twist to the story. I didn’t see that one coming. It tells of a woman who was locked in the bathroom by her husband. It shows how she deteriorates over time both mentality and physically. It was sick and twisted and you really felt scared for her.


Oh good lord. This was just crazy. Jennifer is totally off her rocker. She is convinced that everyone loves her but no one does. As the story progresses it only gets darker and Jennifer seems more insane than the previous line.


This one is a story about a woman who starts over-eating when her relationship is going sour. After the break-up she can’t stop over-eating till eventually she doesn’t even recognize the person in the mirror. Definitely not terrifying like the previous two stories. But her continue need to eat get rather annoying after a while.

Where Maisy Went

This one was very disturbing. A crazy lady steals a baby and has no idea how to take care of the poor thing. I just don’t know what to say about this one. Twisted horrible and very terrifying. It’s not like she is actually conscious of what she is doing. That makes it even scarier.


This one is confusing. This man wonders around all day looking for who we believe is his wife and son but he always refers to them as the woman and the boy. Sort of odd. He’s the one that lost them in the first place. He drops them off far from where he parks and they never make any arrangement to meet. It makes me wonder if he was a stalker and was just a taxi man. No idea. Totally confused after reading that one.

Final Thoughts

While I admit some of the stories seem rather poetic, they are mostly tragic and I can’t see the beauty in this type of tragedy.  The stories were deeply disturbing and will probably make me have nightmares for a while. I particularly liked “I live in the bathroom”. That one was my favourite. My least favourite was “Where Maisy Went”.

The Verdict

Not for the faint of heart

Rating Report
Overall: 4

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