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photographed by ian macpherson
text by benjamin garland
Receiving a present and not knowing what it is is one of the joys of childhood, matched perhaps in adulthood by the joy of giving a present that you know will be received with delight. The sheer thrill of conjecture is a feeling remembered by all of us who have ever espied a present with our name on it before we are allowed to open it, and this sense of limitless possibility is the subject of Bob Gill’s book The Present.
Little Arthur imagines the present could be anything. Well, not anything; it couldn’t be a fish in a bowl for a fish wouldn’t keep. But it could be a dartboard like his cousin Harold’s. So when a woman comes to the door collecting gifts for underprivileged children, Arthur is faced with the question: Is he the sort of boy that could give away his present – without ever having known what it was?
The Present by Bob Gill, A$24.95, Dymocks