Thursday, 1 February 2007

The Duporth Book Exchange is one of a row of shops on a narrow street in the heart of downtown Maroochydore. The footpath is paved with nice stone pavers and the cars park, on both sides of the street, at 45 degrees to the curb, front-in or rear-in. They line up like water buffalo practising for a synchronised swimming competition. There are parking slots reserved for drivers with disabilities. Modern-looking garbage bins dot the street.

Its windows are filled with books. Where they have been shone-on by the sun, their jackets are burnt completely blue. A whole window full of books with blue covers attests to the strength and duration of sunshine in Maroochydore. Tall piles of tropical cloud lie across the horizon, but the sun still shines.

I have been here before, so I knew where to go to find the good literature. Unlike some parts of the shop, the literature section (probably because nobody buys literature, very much), is a total disaster. Piles of books stand in front of other piles of books, so that you can't see the spines of those that are stacked behind the front pile.

Fossicking can, however, unearth gems. And fossick I did. I found 12 books, for which I paid $90:

1988, Andrew McGahan (1995)
All the Pretty Horses (volume one of The Border Trilogy), Cormac McCarthy (1993)
Light in August, William Faulkner (1932)
Pascali's Island, Barry Unsworth (1980)
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, Geraldine Brooks (2001)
The Sportswriter, Richard Ford (1986)
Plays:1, Wole Soyinka (1984)
Absalom, Absalom!, William Faulkner (1937)
Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev, Robert Dessaix (2004)
The Best of Granta Reportage (1993)
Identity, Milan Kundera (1998)
Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon (1997)

Not wishing to overload my parents with my — no doubt ascerbic — company: after purchasing these treasures I headed straight for the bottle shop. There, I pondered again why Amsterdam Mariner is so cheap (it sells for $12 half a dozen stubbies). Apparently, it's because the company that imports the beer from Holland is owned by Woolworths (which also owns BWS, the liquor shop itself).

Then I sat on the balcony of the apartment they have rented for me and watched a group of five young men play cricket and skylark. Four of them had no shirts on. Bushpigs, I thought. No doubt they're prefectly pleasant young men when you get to know them. But there's something about this town that turns them into potential bag-snatchers.

It might have domething to do with the fact that the RSL club is so large, in such a small town. But is it a small town? I'll have to investigate further.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

12 books for $90! What a steal!