Adelaide: Alistair McCartney

“Adelaide” is an entry from The End of The World Book by Alistair McCartney, an encyclopedia of stories and memories and obsessions, forthcoming from The University of Wisconsin Press, March 08.



For a long time now, Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, has been known as the city of churches. The ratio of parishes to citizens is slightly alarming; everywhere you look you see a spire or a steeple grazing the sky.

In the 1970’s, this moniker was replaced by one of a more sinister nature. A spate of abductions, rapes and murders of young boys led to Adelaide being dubbed the city of boy killers. Delicate corpses were found in champagne crates. Politicians were involved.

Yet for me, Adelaide is the city of my mother, the city in which she was born on New Years Day, 1928.

Sometimes, my mother dreams that once again she is back in Adelaide, and the world has ended. She wanders through the city, whose ruins are still smoldering, hot to the touch.

She finds herself back at the house in which she grew up, but the house is gone; nothing remains, except for the long porch that wrapped around the house, and on which she spent many an evening, but which now wraps itself around nothing, as if nothing were a kind of gift.


About the Author

Alistair McCartney teaches creative writing and a variety of literature and humanities courses in the B.A. Program at Antioch University Los Angeles and at Antioch University Santa Barbara. His work has appeared in Fence, The James White Review , Gay and Lesbian Review, and other literary journals, as well as in a number of fiction and creative nonfiction anthologies, including Between Men and Wonderlands (University of Wisconsin Press.) His first novel, The End of the World Book, will be published in March 08, also by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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