What’s it like to face the threat of homelessness? Comeback explores the precarious existence of people on the margins of our society in the febrile world of Melbourne’s inner city.
My main character — ageing taxi–driver Jack van Duyn, first introduced in Comfort Zone — is struggling to keep life and limb together at the best of times. A few unlucky breaks and he finds himself staring down the barrel.
As he grapples with multiple threats to his threadbare existence, Jack has to deal with a deranged homeless man, a fragile sexual-abuse survivor, a tragic construction-site accident, and an array of thugs and heavies set on threatening and manipulating him for their own ends. This all happens against a backdrop of a corrupt public housing development that threatens to explode into a major political scandal.
Comeback is a blend of satire, social commentary, and crime novel. Through the eyes of a grumpy, lonely taxi–driver who has been left behind by life, I explore the world of the less fortunate who live within the wealth and glamour of the inner city but are excluded from it. As Jack’s sense of his own slightly elevated status begins to crumble, he slowly starts to understand what life is like for those who are never quite sure how long the latest roof over their head will last.
Most of us take our housing security for granted, and assume that charities will look after those who are not so fortunate. Our empathy is fairly superficial as we find it very hard to imagine ourselves confronting homelessness. By thrusting Jack into this world I am seeking to show that the gap between the fortunate and unfortunate is nowhere near as large and clear-cut as we think. I am aiming to demonstrate that the ostensibly prosaic business of housing ourselves is in fact a vast battleground on which a variety of interests struggle for advantage and advancement — and relative positions are always changing