Frank Delage, piano manufacturer from Sydney, travels to Vienna, a city immersed in music, to present the Delage concert grand. He hopes to impress with its technical precision, its improvement on the old pianos of Europe. How could he not know his piano is all wrong for Vienna? Perhaps he should have tried Berlin. But a chance meeting with Amalia von Schalla brings new possibilities for Delage - connections, her daughter Elisabeth, and an avant garde composer. Now travelling home, on a container ship, with Elisabeth, the real story is about to begin. This beautiful hardcover edition of Murray Bail’s new work is the perfect gift for lovers of fine literature.
Winner of the Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013.In Melbourne's western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories. The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney's notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way. The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving...
They've been friends for decades. They've seen everything - marriage, divorce, success, bankruptcy. They think they've learned life's lessons, that they can survive anything and anyone. But they're wrong. They've only just begun.
Tim must face the challenges of his co-dependent marriage to Angie. Peter, after a lifetime of casual affairs, is passionately in love for the first time with the fiercely independent Frieda. Jeremy, the most successful of them all, finds himself in the grip of a destructive addiction. And Sandy, once an acclaimed songwriter, is failing in his attempt to make amends after too many years of neglecting his wife, Penny, and their two children. He is also haunted by a secret tragedy.
Set in London via the Dordogne and northern India, After Everything is about the frailties and joys of friendship and family, and the struggle of learning how to live in a changing world. Wry, warm and emotionally astute, this novel shows it's never too late to discover new beginnings.
Drawing on his experiences in the First World War, Charles Yale Harrison tells a stark and poignant story of a young man sent to fight on the Western Front. It is an unimaginably harrowing journey, especially for one not yet old enough to vote. In sparse but gripping prose, Harrison conveys a sense of the horrors of life in the trenches. Here is where soldiers fight and die, entombed in mud, surrounded by rats and lice, forced to survive on insufficient rations. Generals Die in Bed brings to life a period of history through the eyes of a twenty-year-old narrator, who reminds us that there is neither glamour nor glory in war.
'Stories are the only thing that defy death. Stories are truth. I hereby give you mine...' Peking, 1944: Sir Edmund Backhouse is a man of many parts. A polyglot scholar. An effete homosexual. A genius of perversity, a forger, arms salesman, occasional spy and fantasist. Also, if he is to be believed, the onetime lover of the redoubtable Empress Dowager of China, a woman many decades his senior. In his declining years, tended by his friend, Dr Hoeppli, he writes his memoir - 'a wild tale', as he calls it, 'far-fetched and fantastical'- of his affair with the Dowager Empress. Beijing, 2014: Linnie is an Australian woman of uncertain provenance struggling to make a living in Beijing. A Sinophile, a translator of film subtitles, the author of an unpublished novel about Backhouse called The Empress Lover. One day, she receives an intriguingly old-fashioned and formal invitation from a Professor H, an invitation that promises to reveal long hidden secrets of her family...And so two worlds collide. An enchantingly slippery, sinuous, playful - and ultimately very moving - novel of love, loss, identity and history from one of Australia's finest novelists.
War ends and the world changes, as it always does. The enemy are no longer the enemy just people living their lives. But hate is hard to extinguish. The scars of war are not always visible, and they don't always fade. They haven't for Merna Gibson and they definitely haven't for her husband, Frank. He won't ever forget what was done to him and his mates. The nightmares, the aches, the pain of seeing things a person should never see stay with him, always. The long-ago war colours their family life.
For Merna, at home on the farm, Japan is very far away. For Frank, it isn't far enough. But their son, Paul, doesn't carry the same beliefs. For him, Japan is a place of possibility, a country to embrace. Father and son live worlds apart even when at the same table. Hate and prejudice has created a gulf between the two.When a woman comes into their son's life, it is left to Merna to try to bridge the gap. Caught between the two men she loves she is determined to keep her family together, while still everything keeps changing.
This is a powerful story about love, hate and forgiveness that will stir your heart.
Bourne is a private fighting on the front. Self-reliant and articulate, he is under pressure to accept a commission, but he prefers to be among the ranks, drawn into the universal struggle for survival in a world gone mad. An attempt to understand the inexplicable, Manning's moving and powerful work is unlike any other First World War novel in its depiction of the life of the ordinary British soldier, which was as much concerned with drill, transportation, rest and relaxation, as the trauma and brutalities of combat. Its use of swearing and its highly disturbing realism give The Middle Parts of Fortune a startling contemporaneity.
Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down. Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to move on. When Kate's, Leila's and Elizabeth's paths cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's vision of the newest and most delectable tea shop in London, The Tea Chest. But with the very real possibility that The Tea Chest may fail, the three women are forced to decide what's important to each of them. An enchanting, witty novel about the unexpected situations life throws at us, and how love and friendship help us through. Written with heart and infused with the seductive scents of bergamot, Indian spices, lemon, rose and caramel, it's a world you won't want to leave.
"Did we have any relatives die in the First World War?"
Forensic Anthropologist Kat Kelso's innocent question begins the unravelling of a hundred years of family history, lies and secrets.
In 1916 twin brothers Denny and Connor Ronan are eager to get to the war before it's all over; Bridie O'Malley, their childhood friend and the woman they both love, watches them leave, understanding too late that war is about more than heroes and handsome boys in uniform.
Nearly a century on from the disastrous battle of Fromelles, Kat Kelso, Bridie's great granddaughter, is on site in France identifying the recovered bodies of lost Australian soldiers. The discovery of her own relative amongst the dead men brings Kat, her mother Fiona and great-aunt Hattie, far more questions than answers.
The wounds of love and war have devastating consequences that ripple across time.
2000: The wreckage of a downed WWII fighter plane is discovered in the forests near Russia's Ukrainian border. The aircraft belonged to Natalya Azarova, ace pilot and pin-up girl for Soviet propaganda, but the question of her fate remains unanswered. Was she a German spy who faked her own death, as the Kremlin claims? Her lover, Valentin Orlov, now a highly-decorated general, refuses to believe it. Lily, a young Australian woman, has moved to Moscow to escape from tragedy. She becomes fascinated by the story of Natalya, and when she meets an elderly woman who claims to know the truth behind the rumours, Lily is drawn deeper into the mystery. From the pomp and purges of Stalin's Russia through the horrors of war and beyond - secrets and lies, enduring love and terrible betrayal, sacrifice and redemption all combine in this sweeping saga from Belinda Alexandra.
For bargeman Sam Scully, life in Cook's Basin is nothing short of paradise. A wonderland of golden sand and turquoise waters, battered old tinnies and wonky pontoons, it's a realm unspoilt by the modern world. But then a notice goes up in the Square that screams 'EXCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT!' Paradise is about to be ripped apart. With plans underway to build a flash resort in the heart of their community, the residents leap into action - with Sam as their leader, and a twelve-foot papier-mache cockatoo as their mascot...But it's never going to be easy to turn the tide of 'progress'. Meanwhile there's trouble brewing at the Briny Cafe. Kate Jackson is struggling to come to terms with the dreadful secret spilled on her mother's deathbed. And as for Kate's co-owner, Ettie Brookbank...Well, what is happening to Ettie?
Suddenly a dark blur dropped through her line of vision, followed by a thump behind the glass. Kat saw first the faces of the extras. Then Peru, the prettiest contestant, fixed in horror and disbelief. There was a high, thin, sustained scream. Finally Kat shifted her gaze to the street, where a body lay at all angles in an extravagant splatter of blood. 'Oh dear,' she said. Then started, helplessly, laughing. Kat Kelly reckons she's got life sorted. She has a man who cooks and does the dishes. A stepdaughter she adores. And her dream job: scouting locations for a TV production company. All the big dramas are behind her, right? Before she knows it, Kat is out of love and has nowhere to live. Between her ditzy new intern and an amorous ex-footballer, work isn't much better. And just when things couldn't get any worse, disaster strikes Kat's set, sending her spinning totally out of control. Kat Jumps the Shark is a moving and at times hilarious tale about losing it all, only to find it again in the most unexpected place. Full of cheeky digs at television and celebrity culture, this fun-filled novel is for all readers.
I'm the most authentic version of myself when I'm around Jack. We've known each other since we were kids, and our relationship was always one of mudpies and mocking. Then everything changed. Beautiful Kate, my best friend, disappeared on a moonlit beach after Jack dumped her for me. Jack was a suspect and, sure of his innocence, I lied to protect him. I know Jack didn't kill her. Our betrayal did. Thirteen years later, I am thirty, childless and single, attempting to renovate my life rescuing a rundown worker's cottage. All is as it should be in my safe little world - until Jack buys the vacant lot behind my house...and the feelings that we buried all those years ago - the guilt, the love and the pain - resurface. We can't keep running away from the past - and to move forward we have to know what really happened to Kate.
Since inheriting Nambina, the property that's been in her family for generations, Laura Murphy has worked wonders. Rather than just focus on farming she has set up a successful school teaching women the basics of managing a property - from fencing and mustering to handling the financial side of the business. But the notoriously self-reliant Laura is lonely and still scarred by a tragedy from her past. She's also grappling with the hostility of her nearest neighbour and former best friend, Meghan Hunter. The fact that Laura's ex-boyfriend Josh is Meghan's brother only makes things worse. When a solicitor contacts Laura saying his clients may have a claim over Nambina, her entire world is turned upside down, and she has to call on all her determination to hold on to the property she's worked so hard to build. In the process she realises she must reach out to friends and loved ones or risk losing everything. By the bestselling author of Red Dust, this inspirational novel celebrates strength in the face of adversity as well as the enriching power of love.
Autumn Laing seduces Pat Donlon with her pearly thighs and her lust for life and art. In doing so she not only compromises the trusting love she has with her husband, Arthur, she also steals the future from Pat's young and beautiful wife, Edith, and their unborn child. Fifty-three years later, cantankerous, engaging, unrestrainable 85-year-old Autumn is shocked to find within herself a powerful need for redemption. As she begins to tell her story, she writes, 'They are all dead and I am old and skeleton-gaunt. This is where it began...' Written with compassion and intelligence, this energetic, funny and wise novel peels back the layers of storytelling and asks what truth has to do with it. Autumn Laing is an unflinchingly intimate portrait of a woman and her time - she is unforgettable.
Cecilia Fitzpatrick, devoted mother, successful Tupperware business owner and efficient P&C President, has found a letter from her husband. For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, to be opened only in the event of my death But Cecilia's husband isn't dead, he's on a business trip. And when she questions him about it on the phone, Cecilia senses something she hasn't experienced before. John-Paul is lying. What happens next changes Cecilia's formerly blissful suburban existence forever, and the consequences will be life-changing for the most unexpected people.
Grace has not had twelve people at her table for a long time. Hers isn't the kind of family who share regular Sunday meals. But it isn't every day you turn seventy. As Grace prepares the feast, she reflects on her life, her marriage and her friendships. When the three generations come together, simmering tensions from the past threaten to boil over. The one thing that no one can talk about is the one thing that no one can forget. Grace's Table is a moving and often funny novel about the power of memory and the family rituals that define us.
The accidental death of MP Norman Cole precipitates a hung parliament allowing a core of extreme right-wing politicians to seize power. Telford, a high-ranking but unworldly public servant, is approached by Cole's wife who believes her husband was murdered and asks him to investigate on her behalf. The reward for this, he hopes, will be her love. Despite the bizarre and threatening nature of his investigations, he remains convinced that the 'scribbled note' about the meeting with 'N' holds the key to what he seeks. Meanwhile in an increasingly nightmarish city, in a countryside owing more to the Middle Ages than to the 1940s, or in two distant prison camps, a range of Australians struggle to find their own truths, a way back to love, and a means of survival - be it Roy and Vic, each struggling to validate and empower their painting; be it the artist's model Missy, torn between passion and fidelity; or the writer Henningsen and Head of the Emergency Government Warren Mahony, each battling with their tenuous sanities. Told in a wide range of styles, N is a remarkable work of imagination woven about two unforgettable love stories. N is, literally, marvellous and utterly unlike anything I have seen in Australian fiction...One of the many miracles of this wonderful book is the fact that within the pyrotechnics of its multiple styles and alternative histories are contained the lives of human beings whose fates we grow to care desperately about. - Martin Duwell I don't think I've liked an Australian book or manuscript so much in years. I kept thinking in Australian terms of Capricornia, but I think, in reach and intelligence, inventiveness and imagination, N is actually closer to Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. It's a masterpiece, as clear and as simple as that. An ironic compendium of Australian lore and legend - ironic and sometimes perverse - that shows how precarious our history and our hold on the landscape, in fact our own mindscape, has been. - David Brooks
'As deviously weighty as a good pop song.' - Anson Cameron, author of Stealing Picasso, Nice Shootin', Cowboy and Silences Long Gone. In these sixteen tales, Robert Power captures the joys and frailties of seemingly ordinary lives with extraordinary perception and wit. The stories take us from a Manhattan diner to a train station in Vietnam, from the Wild West to small town Australia, in a dazzling display of faith in language and in life. A man staying in New York pretends to be blind and inveigles his way through the defences of a lonely diner waitress; a child beggar in Vietnam makes his determined way through loss and into the world; a father falls prey to the temptations of the internet; a client discovers his psychiatrist's startling secret; and a wife sends a beautiful, but shocking, letter to her husband, the postman. Each delicious story transports the reader into another world and life with authorial grace and an assured lightness of touch.
Carrots and Jaffas tells the story of two red-headed identical twins whose oneness is ruptured when one of them is kidnapped. Their startling intimacy is both a strength and a fault line in their being, and once separated, their individuality emerges. In the course of this exhilarating domestic tale set in Melbourne and the Flinders Ranges, the reader encounters the twins' parents - emotional, scripture-quoting Luisa and calm Bernard - as well as two remarkable storytellers, Doc, an eccentric outback doctor and Greta, an Aboriginal elder. Trauma is followed by recovery through the unexpected agency of story and 'country' (in the Australian Aboriginal meaning of that term). About the author Howard Goldenberg is a doctor, writer, marathon runner and Olympic torch bearer. He has written two non-fiction books, My Father's Compass (2007) and Raft (2009). This is his first novel. What the critics said about Raft: A sensitive and caring glimpse of lives that most of us never see. - Noel Shaw, Examiner Through his measured and beautifully constructed words, we are privileged to glimpse an ancient land and its people through the eyes of a perceptive and sophisticated, but essentially generous, man. - Alan Gold
Chelsea has had a rough week. After a few great years of professional triumphs and personal stability, she suddenly finds herself - at the grand old age of 28 - homeless, jobless and single. Cheating on her boyfriend with her boss probably wasn't the brightest idea. Salvation comes in the form of her father, Gary 'Turbo' Turbiton, a once major but now fading star of stage and screen, who offers her a job as his assistant while he travels Australia promoting his recent autobiography. Chelsea adores her Dad but she knows from years of family road trips just what this 'job' will entail: hours and hours of mindless bush trivia, pit stops to ridiculous local landmarks and pointed interrogations about what she's doing with her life. All the while John Denver will warble endlessly on the CD player. Resigned to her fate - and without a better offer - she says yes. The promo tour takes the two of them across Australia - from a family wedding in Darwin to a pig farm in Port Fairy, from a chance encounter in Tenterfield to an impromptu karaoke night in Yackandandah. Along the way there are unplanned detours - and people - they have to face as they both struggle with that eternal life question: what happens next? With its light touch and sassy humour, Driving Under the Influence is a charming look at growing up, growing old and what fathers and daughters can learn from each other.
When Callie Reynolds arrives at Glenmore, the property she's recently inherited, the last thing she wants is to be saddled with a horse, a neighbour and a mad goose. Haunted by her sister's death and her fractured family, all she wants is freedom. But Callie hasn't counted on falling for Matt Hawkins, an ex-soldier determined to fulfil his own dream of land and family. Nor could she predict the way the land, animals and people of Glenmore will capture her heart. Callie is faced with impossible choices. But she must find the courage to decide where her future lies, even if it costs her everything she holds dear.
Everyone was very casual about it - carefully laconic. For the old soldiers it was another move - there had been plenty like this before - they knew what was coming. But the new men could sense the breath of the unknown and mysterious enemy - the shadows of the long green shore - and violence and death they did not know but had often dreamed about. Written in 1947 but not published until 1995, John Hepworth's debut novel is a gripping account of Australian soldiers fighting in New Guinea at the end of World War II. The product of Hepworth's own experience, The Long Green Shore recounts the lives - and deaths - of a group of soldiers battling the Japanese in the rain-soaked jungle. In sublime prose, it captures the terror and the monotony of war. On its publication The Long Green Shore was met with immediate critical acclaim. It was recognised as one of the world's great war novels.
Overwhelmed by her family's expectations, Dr Beth Harding leaves Sydney behind and takes a locum job in the mining town of Iron Junction. With tensions in the mine running high, and feeling like an outsider, Beth is soon convinced the move was a huge mistake. That is, until she meets Will, who could make the difference between her leaving or staying. For Will Walker, working on his father's cattle farm was never the life he wanted. Instead, he s traded a broad-brim for a hard hat and headed out to the mines. Iron Junction seems like just another gig in the long road that s taking him further from home. But in the independent, fly-in, fly-out life, he hadn't counted on meeting Beth on an isolated Pilbara road.Finding each other forces Will to face his past, just as Beth confronts her future. With so much at stake, will they be brave enough to love each other despite everything that stands in their way?
They can say what they bloody well like, but we're a fuckin' fine mob.' Deep in the mud, stench of the Somme, Bourne is trying his best to stay alive. There he finds the intense fraternity of war and fear unlike anything he has ever known. Frederic Manning's novel was first published anonymously in 1929. The honesty with which he wrote about the horror, the boredom, and the futility of war inspired Ernest Hemingway to read the novel every year, 'to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them.