It's 1958 and Australia is becoming a different place. The Melbourne working-class suburb of Carlton is now home to many immigrant families trying to begin new lives and make sense of the old. Romek and Zofia, liberated from the camps in Poland, work hard at the local market, but their love is in ruins. Bloomfield is king and custodian of Curtin Square and is rarely absent from his post. The resplendent Valerio, stylish and soccer-mad, has just arrived from Italy. War veteran Mr Sommers sits alone on his verandah, while Yiddish actors gather at the barber's to reminisce and curse. Romek and Zofia's skinny twelve-year-old son Josh takes up boxing and becomes bewitched by the Swedish Girl. But Zofia is tormented, and as she falls further into madness, Josh wonders if she can ever be made whole again.
'Zable's vision is ultimately optimistic and affirming.
He sees the immigrant experience as a manifestation of humankind's innate sense of hopefulness.'
Sydney Morning Herald
'Zable's novel cements his reputation as one of Melbourne's great storytellers.'