Love Stories? The Last Girlfriend on Earth

Last week was incredible – I spent hours playing in parks, chatting with Oscar and hanging out with my Mum. I got out of house, away from the computer and enjoyed what was probably the last bit of decent Melbourne weather that we’ll get for a while. Not much writing got done. It’s the first proper week off I’ve had for a long while, and it has done me the world of good.

But now the kids are back to school, and it’s time to dust off the desk chair and plant my bum in it, eyes glued firmly to the computer screen. I’ve got a dozen reviews to write and a brand new TBYL Event to arrange.

I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I decided to chat about a book that on the face of it, seemed pretty light hearted.

The last girlfriend on earthDuring the break I read an intriguing collection of short stories, The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories (Allen and Unwin), a new book from the author of What in God’s Name, Simon Rich…

It doesn’t matter if you’re a robot, a caveman, or an alien from outer space: sooner or later, some girl’s going to break your heart…

“On the third day, God’s girlfriend came over and said that He’d been acting distant lately. ‘I’m sorry,’ God said. ‘Things have been crazy this week at work.’ He smiled at her, but she did not smile back. And God saw that it was not good.”

Simon’s short stories are fantastic, bite-sized tales full of crazy and heart. They’re funny, and at times, quite dark – they’ll leave you feeling slightly love-lorn whilst you giggle quietly.

They’re modern stories, mostly from a male point of view and taken from every possible perspective – alien, heavenly, mythical and suburban.

There’s “Victory”, featuring Josh as he receives presidential accolades for a successful evening of romantic endeavour (he scored!) and then there’s poor Brent, who falls for the oldest trick in the book in “Sirens of Gowanus”…

He heaved his amp over his shoulder and headed towards the singer. She had moved on to another tune by now – a b-side by Big Star. The streetlamps grew sparser as he neared the Gowanus Canal, but he was able to spot her in the moonlight. She was under the Carroll Street bridge, sitting on a round, smooth rock. Her silky eyelashes fluttered as she sang. And whenever she hit a high note, she playfully splashed the water with her feet. She was naked from the waist up, two large breasts protruding from her slender, bird-like frame.

There’s also a quiet cynicism, which you’ll find in stories like “Children of the Dirt” – the mythical tale of the Children of the Moon, Sun and Earth, all of whom are insufferable to the lesser known, and lesser loved, Children of the Dirt.

And of course there’s self-sacrifice, real love, which will make you sigh a little in between your laughter.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection of stories. I’ll admit that I found a couple of them a little bit cliched, but mostly they were funny, sweet and cheeky. If you’re after a quick, light read The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories might do the job nicely.

If you’d like to find out more about Simon Rich’s book, you can visit the Allen and Unwin website here…

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