Thursday, 28 March 2019

The Plastic Seed by Maisie Porter

The Plastic Seed by Maisie Porter
Published by Crooked Cat Books in December 2018.

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Two schemes uncoil—and, very quickly, begin to unravel—on the same day in the Australian town of West Glassport…

Jean Hima isn’t happy with the way her life has been going. First, her husband leaves her. Then, she loses her job as a midwife at the local hospital, over the easily-fixed misplacement of a baby or two… 

Now, Jean is sure a snooty real estate agent is blocking her efforts to find a rental in a nice part of town. 

Given possession of a batch of incriminating photographs, who wouldn’t begin thinking about a little life-restorative blackmail?

Written in three acts and covering a quarter of a century, The Plastic Seed is an environmental thriller that explores the hypocrisy of some aspects of the philosophy of wellness. This novella is part satire of the human potential movement, and sincere testimony to the ability of humans to face facts when given no choice.

The Plastic Seed is a quirky novella which explores how a woman, Jean, who is unable to take responsibility for herself and her actions, seeks to blame a former neighbour, Carlana, for her life not being the garden of roses Jean feels she deserves. The story is written in stream-of-consciousness style with a half dozen characters each taking turns to present aspects of the drama from their own points of view. Unfortunately they all speak with a similar voice so I didn't feel I got the full intended effect of this device. The language is often convoluted too with unusual speech patterns that took some getting used to. Jean resorts to increasingly bizarre actions in her pursuit of Carlana and I wasn't sure how much was meant to be believable as genuine actions, or how much was just in her imagination. Despite reading her direct thoughts, it is difficult to understand Jean's motivation. She is very impetuous so her plans often veer off abruptly leading to situations that I am not sure whether I should have found humorous or not. The Plastic Seed also gives an entertaining insight into life realities of people promoting motivational lifestyles - the grime behind the instagram glitz - and revealing this double standard motivates much of Jean's drive for revenge. It's certainly a timely story, but I do wonder if a short novella allowed Porter enough room to fully explore the ideas she raises.

Meet the author

Maisie Porter works as a professional photographer in Australia, with wide experience covering weddings, though she has neither abducted nor been abducted by any competitors. No Reception was Maisie's first novel.

Author links: 

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Maisie Porter / Novellas / Books from Australia


  1. It's good to hear about a book set in Australia by an Australian author! A bit of a shame that you didn't often understand the motivations which means that sometimes the actions of the main character come across as melodramatic. Maybe a longer book would've suited better...

    1. Yes, more explanations of the whys would have been helpful I think