Miss Lamp

A half-smile from her lights up a hotel hallway like a yellow party dress. So Miss Lamp shines. She left her sky-blue knee-high skirt at home, home where she strums songs on Saturdays. Songs about chameleons, raccoons or not eating dill pickles. The stoop hits thirty degrees on a good June morning. She sings with shiny lips on a good June morning. Peach lip balm.

When a mad dentist steals people’s teeth, Miss Lamp comes to town.

When Miss Lamp comes to town, she stays in Room 32 of the Peachland Hotel. As she waits for a wellcrafted grilled cheese sandwich – with pickle on the side, of course – and a bowl of tomato soup, she drifts back to her past, picking and pocketing, her memories along the way: meet Delano, Paper Boy, Abby and Grandma, and see Room Service Boy and Banana Tray Hair as their romance blossoms. Their stories all hum around the luminous Miss Lamp, a remarkably attractive litigator with a bag full of discoveries.

Miss Lamp invites you to smell the flowers, walk in someone else’s shoes, eat a peach and watch a magpie pick for gold.

Miss Lamp is a story about stories, a story to set things right.

‘Welcome to the whimsical world of Miss Lamp. In crisp, vivid vignettes, Chris Ewart has written a down-toearth novel with a fascinating cast of characters who are part old-world fairy tale and part contemporary urban myth: Miss Lamp, a young woman with orthopaedic shoes and a cola-stained dress; sweet Room Service Boy who has become his joe job; Banana Tray Hair the checkout girl; Paper Boy, who pawns his oneof- a-kind coat to get his teeth fixed; and Delano, the fiendishly evil tooth-stealing dentist. To read Miss Lamp is to see daily life again in clear, sharp lines and delightfully bright colours.’ – Larissa Lai