Oliver Mol, the Sydney-based writer best known for his passion for digital writing, has been kicking around and getting published in everything under the sun for the last few years. I recall picking up a copy of Voiceworks once and saying to myself, ‘It’s that bloody Mol guy again!’ – but in a good way. So I was interested, to say the least, when I heard he’d published his first full-length work Lion Attack! with Scribe Publications.
Lion Attack! is a kind-of memoir, a series of fictionalised memories from Mol’s own life. The story is about Oliver, a guy who grew up in Australia, then Texas, then Australia again. The book comments on racism, sexism, homophobia, privilege and the general shittiness of people, through comedic scenarios and emotion-tugging one-liners.
In his foreword Mol says, ‘I wanted to imagine someone reading and laughing then thinking: wait, that’s kinda fucked up,’ and that’s exactly what he does. Mol makes you think about the world around you, and the way you act day to day, and why things happen the way they do.
I’ve never read another book that made me look at life and loneliness and myself in a more critical way than Lion Attack! does. And it’s due to Mol’s voice. His short, sharp sentences and casual tone give me the sense that I’m talking to a friend or listening to the voice inside my own head.
Mol’s writing is saturated with the influence of the 21st century. On the page his prose resembles chat room text, and the language and references used are familiar and utterly Australian. It’s the perfect way to communicate with readers about big-picture issues without coming off as pretentious or preachy, as well as just taking us along for a bumpy ride of imaginative and quirky anecdotes.
While the structure is set out in snippets of stories, there is a definite movement forward and I found common threads and imagery that tied it all together. The overarching plots about connecting with people (such as Oliver’s brother Bear and newfound girlfriend Lisa) add to the sense that you’re reading towards a big climactic resolution.
Lion Attack! will weigh you down just enough to see what matters, and make you smile a lot while reading it. This is a book for those who are maybe feeling a little lost, who want to see their lives from a new perspective, who want to find some hope that things can turn around. It’s also for people who are feeling a bit lucky, for people whose lives are in tip-top shape. It’s just for everyone, really.
Kyra Bandte is a writer, reader and editor from Wollongong. She currently works full-time as a content writer in Sydney while being on the editorial team for online literary publication Writer’s Edit. She’s a spinner of short stories and sometimes poetry, and is slowly bringing her first novel together. Find her on Twitter @KyraBandte.