Playback cover

Fremantle Press, 2003


  • 2003 WA Premier’s Prize for Fiction

Jack Biner, folklorist and gifted listener, imagines Windrup is just another country town. But soon he is entrusted with the vivid and often moving world of people’s memories. His need to remain an impartial collector is shaken. He finds he must live through much more than his own dilemmas as he meets Mrs Bukowski, the moody landlady; Laura, the painter; her cagey husband; and the enigmatic Fisher…
Playback is a richly imaginative, playful and sensual work that explores history, repression, silence, love, and the power of art. And, finally, the elusive question, what is ‘truth’?.

For the next few hours he plays the tape through the loudspeakers. Listens over and over, in anger and also in sheer disbelief. He talks back to the man, punches the air, claps in triumph. Perfect, what more could he want? The sound of the man’s voice dominates the small room. Until it annoys him and he can tolerate it no more.

Praise for Playback

The words come from a more coherent source, seeming to write themselves, recalling the forgotten truth of imaginative fiction … Salom has the power to awaken the reader in a vision of reality, to live each page moment to moment.

The Age

It splinters notions of artistic and scientific truth with finely honed wit. It is a vehicle for Salom’s word facility, his capacity for creating imagery or startling inventiveness and seamless patterns of colloquial and abstract expression.

New Zealand Herald

I have the feeling (Salom) could surprise us with a second novel of quite outstanding richness and strength.

Robert Dessaix

Playback is no longer available.