Apart from the release of the Tell the Truth, Shame the devil paperback in the US this month (press release below) I’ve been working on my new novel, The House That Seb Built (working title). Some of you read my short story When Rosie met Jim which was published online by the Review of Australian fiction, and know that it will serve as the first chapter. I’m hoping to have the novel finished before the end of the year.
I’ve said a thousand times over that the novel isn’t about the Saving Francesca/Piper’s Son gang and that readers will be disappointed if they expect to see more than a glimpse of them. It’s mostly about Rosie and Martha and Jimmy and a whole cast of new characters. But his friends are present in Jimmy’s life, so I thought I’d share with you his opening chapter.
He’s home, and he knows his home because they’re here and that’s the way it is, just the certainty that one of them will always be around, and it feels like everything’s going to be okay in a way that it hasn’t since that phone call, and he’s just hugging the three of them because he’s become the sort of person who goes straight for the clinch, because once that hug came from Frankie Spinelli years ago, he knew his days of holding back were over. And everything looks the same and different, and he has one of those epiphanies in front of the clocks outside Central on Elizabeth Street next to a guy selling The Big Issue. That regardless of where his car took him and what he didn’t end up finding, he’s part of this city too and he realizes that they’re laughing and that he’s said it all out loud.
‘Shut up, Jimmy!’
And the girls link their arms with his and Mackee takes Jimmy’s duffel, and he’s so overwhelmed by them, and the city, and being home, that he forgets why he’s really here, and just lets it all set in. That he’s home.