I think “The Italian Job”–right now free–was the first Nick Earls short story I’d ever read. And I did so as his publisher.
I hadn’t been able to read much of Nick’s short work. I’m in America, and quite a bit of Nick’s work just hadn’t made it state-side, or, if it had, had gone out of print by the time I discovered his work via Perfect Skin. I’d managed a few of his adult novels–Zigzag Street and Bachelor Kisses, for two–but several others, including The Thompson Gunner, had remained elusive even through special, dedicated channels like Amazon’s marketplace and ABE books.
“The Italian Job” and The Thompson Gunner share a character, Meg Riddoch. I hadn’t been able to read Meg’s story until I started coding The Thompson Gunner for publication through Exciting Press–at which point the novel took on a new name, Tumble Turns. The story and the novel might share a universe, too–on that point I’m not entirely certain, given the ways Meg’s timeline in Tumble Turns digresses and flits back and forth.
You can read about how Nick conceived both novel and story right here.
Mal’s penile implant isn’t really as central to the story as his relationship with Meg, and the connection they build as he drives her around Australia, possibly at the tail end of her Tumble Turns media tour. Or maybe a different tour altogether. But I think it’s one of the first stories I ever read that used the verb “detumesce,” and for that alone it’s worth reading.
So do check it out. And wonderfully, Nick and Nick’s agent and I have arranged it that “The Italian Job” is one of five stories available globally, without restrictions with regard to territory. So no matter where you are, be it Canada, Australia, America, or Italy, if you have access to the Kindle platform, you can read the story. We think that’s pretty great.