Review of Undone taken from The Bulletin
Jennings, Australian author of offbeat collections such as Unreal and Uncanny here returns with eight more short stories.
The book's subtitle may emphasise endings but Jennings in fact excels at beginnings that will hook young readers: "A person who eats someone else is called a cannibal. But what are you called if you drink someone?" - from You be the Judge; "I, Adam Hill, agree to stand on the Wollaston Bridge at four o'clock and pull down my pants. I will then flash a moonie at Mr Bellow, the school principal" - from Moonies.
The tales that follow these openings generally fulfil their eccentric promise well, presenting bat-boys, insect transformations, artistically painted buttocks, cod-liver-oil revenge, mind-reading cows - in short, an inventive collection of creatures and concepts that will entertain fans of the bizarre. The generous inclusion of irreverence, broad physical humour, creepy crawlies, and gross details makes these stories appealing to kids who find most short stories oversubtle; these tales tend to be better developed than those in his previous books, too, so that readers will relish each tale's competent progress to a fitting and usually ironic end.
Printed from The Bulletin, February 1995