Imagine you were trapped inside in a shopping centre with only Canadian alt-pop duo Tegan and Sara for company. That’s the premise of the (YA) novel Carousel, written by Western Australian author Brendan Ritchie. Well it’s not actually Tegan and Sara, it’s a fictionalised version – pop-duo sisters Taylor & Lizzy. The book’s title refers not to a merry-go-round but to the actual shopping centre in Cannington, where narrator Nox finds himself mysteriously trapped. The shopping centre appears to be completely deserted, except for Tegan & Sara …er, Taylor & Lizzy, who are still in Perth, two nights after playing a gig at “The Shetland” as part of their Australian tour ( “The Shetland” one of the few made up place names in the book – most places/shops referred to are the real thing).
I wonder if the author workshopped any of the other big Perth shopping centres for titles – Garden City? Lakeside? Galleria? All those suggest a slightly too happy vibe . Locally, (Cockburn) Gateway wouldn’t have worked, as a gateway has the opposite effect to being trapped (unless they are not in fact trapped, and have gone through a gateway to another dimension… Hmmmm…) (For a book that does mention Cockburn Gateway Shopping Centre check out Iris Lavell’s 2013 novel Elsewhere in Success), and Phoenix Shopping Centre would have to have involved some fire razing (I’m not giving away anything by telling you that they don’t burn down the shopping centre). Okay, it seems Carousel is the best choice of shopping centre.
Being trapped in a shopping centre with a JB HiFi allows copious opportunities to name drop good bands
are a few of the bands that Nox listens to during the course of the novel. For me, it’s hard not to like a book that has good music references so Carousel ticks the boxes in that department.
Why are the trapped? Are they really the only ones in there? How will they get out? Do they even get out?
You’ll have to read the book to find out the answers to at least three of those questions.