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Australian Fiction
R&R: A Novel

R&R: A Novel

Mark Dapin

$32.99

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ABBEY'S CHOICE AUGUST 2015 ----- John 'Nashville' Grant is an American military policeman in the R&R town of Vung Tau, tucked safely behind the front lines of the Vietnam War. Nashville knows how everything works: the army, the enemy, bars, secrets, men and - at least in Vung Tau - women. He's keeping the peace by keeping his head down and making the most of it. His new partner is a tall man from a small town: Shorty, from Bendigo. Shorty knows nothing about anything, and he wishes people would stop mistaking that for stupidity.

When another MP shoots a corpse in a brothel, the delicate balance between the military police, South Vietnamese gangsters and the Viet Cong is upset. Nashville and his partner are drawn into the heart of the matter by their violent colleague Sergeant Caution, the obsequious landlord Moreau, the improbable entrepreneur Izzy Berger and the mysterious, omnipotent Mamasan. Events begin to force the pair to uphold the law and perhaps - ultimately, unwillingly - to take it into their own hands. 

Written with a brilliant, concise wit and brutal, uncompromising insight, R&R is a startlingly original portrait of men and war in the twilight zone behind the front, a searing study of the violence that we do to others, and ourselves.
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My Hearts are Your Hearts

My Hearts are Your Hearts

Carmel Bird

$27.99

What are the hares getting up to among the sunflowers? Who is paying $6000 for a raincoat? The priest is good, kind, adored, believed - but can the schoolgirl trust him? Who kills his wife and dumps the body in the pool? What if you find your death was listed long ago online? With lightness in the telling, with subtle harmonies and rhythms in the sentences, subversive wit, tender observation - these new stories from one of Australia's foremost storytellers explore the mysterious workings of the heart.
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Into the Lion's Den

Into the Lion's Den

Martin Chimes

$29.99

The destinies of three families of fathers and sons, Jewish, Afrikaner and black African, are interwoven in this gripping epic of retribution, set in South Africa. When Ben Novak receives a cryptic phone call from his sons phone, he is convinced that Josh is in deadly peril.Trusting his instincts, Ben travels across the globe to South Africa, a place he once called home, yet one filled with dark and brutal memories. Ben will stop at nothing to save his son, but what awaits him is an evil, more dangerous and insidious than he could have ever anticipated. Into the Lions Den is a fast-paced action thriller, a compelling saga of the love of family and the indomitable will to survive in the face of an implacable malevolence.
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An Astronaut's Life

An Astronaut's Life

Sonja Dechian

$29.99

It's a good father-daughter moment for them. When they finally spot Venus through the telescope, they share a similar sense of looking at something larger than their lives. It's a whole different planet, and when it fills the viewfinder Catherine stops thinking about the rain and feels what it might be like to inhabit a different life. In sparkling prose, Sonja Dechian's profound, moving and wry stories speak to our deepest yearning for connection and the inevitability of our isolation. From a terrorist cell of cyber-bullying victims working to annihilate the digital memory of their humiliation to a pandemic that leaves grieving parents battling for the media spotlight, these affecting tales invite us to examine our inability to control the world around us-and our own desires. An Astronaut's Life is a beautiful debut from an intelligent new voice in Australian writing.
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A Guide to Berlin

A Guide to Berlin

Gail Jones

$32.99

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A Guide to Berlin  is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin. It is unusual in that it concerns everyday objects, not monuments: the 'guide' is one man's pub-talk, and consists of small noticed details and random visions recorded on an inconsequential winter's day in the Berlin of the 20s.

In this contemporary novel, A Guide to Berlin, six strangers to the city - two Italians, two Japanese, one American and one Australian - meet over their interest in Vladimir Nabokov's work. They enter a kind of informal  narrative contract to offer up 'speak-memories' to each other. 

Each shares stories of their past and forms friendships and relationships within their international circle. The plot turns on a sudden moment of violence. The city of Berlin transfixes them all, but in deeply personal and distinctive ways, so that although there is a net of affiliations and shared images, the city is different for each of them.
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The World Without Us

The World Without Us

Mireille Juchau

$29.99

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Told from the perspective of six, interconnected characters, The World Without Us is a tale of love in all its forms, a mystery and an elegy for a denatured landscape. It is about the ways we become lost to ourselves, and the transformative joys of being found.

After a fire destroys her family's commune home, Evangeline is forced to start afresh in the north coast rainforest town with her child, and partner, Stefan Muller.

Years later, while tending the bees on their farm, Stefan discovers a car wreck, and not far off, human remains. While the locals speculate on who has gone missing from the transient hinterland town, Stefan's daughters Tess and Meg, have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning wet, muddy and disheveled?

Jim Parker, a Sydney teacher escaping his own troubles arrives in their clannish community. One morning he stumbles upon Evangeline, naked by a river with a hammer and some rope. Their charged encounter propels Evangeline's past into the present and sparks a change in all their lives.

Meanwhile ten year old Tess, mute since the loss of her youngest sister, attempts to escape. Will getting lost help her discover where she belongs?

As the rainy season descends, and each of the family are separated by flood, they realise nothing is what it seems.
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The Golden Age

The Golden Age

Joan London

$19.99

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It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At the Golden Age Children's Polio Convalescent Home in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love and desire, music, death, and poetry. It is a place where children must learn they're alone, even within their families. Written in Joan London's customary clear-eyed prose, The Golden Age evokes a time past and a yearning for deep connection. It is a rare and precious gem of a book from one of Australia's finest novelists.
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Nightingale

Nightingale

Fiona McIntosh

$19.99

Amidst the carnage of Gallipoli, British nurse Claire Nightingale falls in love with Australian Light Horseman Jamie Wren. Their flame burns bright, even when war tears them apart. Come peacetime, Claire's desperate search to find Jamie takes her all the way to Istanbul, and deep into the heart of a Turkish family. Cultures come together, enemies embrace and forbidden passions helplessly ignite. A breathtaking novel of heartbreak and heroism, love and longing by a powerhouse Australian storyteller.
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Fleet to the Stars: And Other Stories

Fleet to the Stars: And Other Stories

Susan Midalia

$24.99

Midalia's skill at presenting big ideas through everyday experience demonstrates how powerful good writing can be - The West Australian Feet to the Stars, Susan Midalia's third collection of short stories, offers keenly observed details about everyday life expressed with pathos, tenderness and bracing wit. Subtly rendered and emotionally engaging, these stories speak of the transformative capacities of the heart and mind, and of the ways we affect each other, sometimes unwittingly and often profoundly. They offer us the pleasure of listening to different voices, and the satisfaction of careful crafting and evocative prose.
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Solly's Way

Solly's Way

Ron Thomas

$29.99

It is the 1890s and the prosperous years are gone. Drought and depression are biting hard across the outback. The falling price of wool triggers violent confrontation between the pastoralists and the shearers union. Banks across Australia begin to close their doors as property values plummet.

Thomas Landerville is a small landholder caught between a crippling mortgage and a parched property that can no longer support his flock. His wife Isabelle is a resourceful woman of the outback but like her husband, she is wondering how they can survive. Alone at home, through the heat haze in the distance Isabelle sees an old swagman pushing a loaded wheelbarrow towards her and anticipates that he will ask for a meal and a cup of tea. But she loads the shotgun and leans it behind the door "just in case". Little does she know of the many ways this old swagman will change her life and that of her family.

Ron's ability to narrate a great Australian historical saga is evident with his quality research and accessible characters. The wealth of knowledge and experience that Ron brings to the house is inspiring. I often "drink from the cup".
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Salt Creek

Salt Creek

Lucy Treloar

$29.99

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Some things collapse slow, and cannot always be rebuilt, and even if a thing can be remade it will never be as it was. 

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. 

Once wealth political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, and Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people's homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. 

As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri's subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?
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The Bit in Between

The Bit in Between

Claire Varley

$29.99

There are seven billion people in the world. This is the story of two of them. After an unfortunate incident in an airport lounge involving an immovable customs officer, a full jar of sun-dried tomatoes and the capricious hand of fate, Oliver meets Alison. In spite of this less than romantic start, Oliver falls in love with her. Immediately. Inexplicably. Irrevocably. With no other place to be, Alison follows Oliver to the Solomon Islands where he is planning to write his much-anticipated second novel. But as Oliver's story begins to take shape, odd things start to happen and he senses there may be more hinging on his novel than the burden of expectation. As he gets deeper into the manuscript and Alison moves further away from him, Oliver finds himself clinging to a narrative that may not end with 'happily ever after'.
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