Blurb from the flyleaf of the book:
" The Crypt Orchid is the first novel by talented new Australian author Heen Barnes, the winner of the 1994 Angus and Robertson Bookworld Prize.
Set in Melbourne's famous Young & Jackson Hotel, it is both a portrait of a barmaid and a portrait of the central icon of Australian lifestyle, the pub, and the people who drift through.
The narrator, Annie, is a barmaid at the hotel and is trying to make sense of her life and her relationships with men.
There's Johnny, her colleague; Phil,a self-confessed car thief; Frank, an old school friend; and her long-lost father to whom she provides weak tea and fruit cake. There's also the confused and stuttering Jacob, another school friend who seems to be living outside the normal world.
By turns yet darkly humorous, tough yet compassionate, The Crypt Orchid presents a slie-of-life of contemporary Melbourne. Barnes' writing is fresh and energetic and paints an affectionate yet realistic picture of Melbourne and includes some wonderfully comic dialogue."
Helen Barnes wa born in 1966 in Leeton, western New South Wales. She lived in Melbourne for about 7 years, finished school at MacRobertson Girls High and then worked as a factory hand, artists' model, housemaid dishwasher, bookkeeper, and barmaid ('which is pretty obvious' she adds). She works now in an advertisiing agency in North Sydney. She is married to a Buddhist who play the trombone and she is learning to play the tuba.
I plan to release this book a the Young & Jackson Hotel, where the book is set, when I next visit Melbourne.