Yes, I’m slow, so very very slow—two years too late. Cargoes by Nick Earls was originally published in October 2015 as part of Griffith Review 50: The Novella Project III, and I’ve had it sitting on my e-reader since then. Now that I’m finally catching up on my Griffith Review subscription, here we are…
Since its appearance in Griffith Review, the novella was re-released as Gotham, part one of the Wisdom Tree series of five novellas published by Inkerman & Blunt. The innovative series has received wide attention and the third novella in the series, Vancouver, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
I’ve been told there are some small sentence-level differences between the two versions, so I should be clear that I read the novella published as Cargoes, but I’ll refer to it using the newer title here since that’s how it is now most commonly known.
This novella is exactly what a novella should be. It couldn’t be anything else. It’s short, at just under 20,000 words and consists of only a few scenes, but this contained, tightly-structured surface hides great depth.