More infoABBEY'S CHOICE AUGUST 2014 -----
From the author of Mr Wigg
comes this beautifully crafted novel of an artist re-finding her purpose and place in life. Jen is licking her wounds after the dissolution of her long term relationship with a man she has never gotten over, nor seems to want to recover from, and her mother’s death has given her the chance to buy a house and piece of bush near her childhood town. Jen left many years ago, but having nowhere else to go, has returned in order to resume her painting and her life. She tutors a promising young boy, Henry, works on her house and block, and observes the birds around her.
When a young girl who is Henry’s close friend goes missing, Jen’s past rears up to confront her, because when she was Henry’s age, her best friend went missing, never to be seen again. And so too, did her father, at the same time – and the town has never been convinced of his innocence. When the town starts remembering, Jen has to accept that her life will change yet again... An outstanding novel with a finely worked narrative line and fully realised characters. Lindy
Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons. When a girl in Henry's class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past. When she was Henry's age she lost her father and her best friend Michael - both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly forty years later, they're talking about it again. Everyone is waiting - for the girl to be found and the summer rain to arrive. At last, when the answers do come, like the wet, it is in a drenching, revitalising downpour.
A profound and sensuous novel of grace and beauty from a stunning young Australian talent.
Innocent and unworldly, Mema is still living at home with her mother on a remote, lush hinterland property. It is a small, confined, simple sort of life, and Mema is content with it.
One day, during a heavy downpour, Mema saves a stranger from a raging creek. She takes him into her family home, where, marooned by rising floods, he has to stay until the waters recede. His sudden presence is unsettling - for Mema, her mother and her wild friend Anja - but slowly he opens the door to a new world of beckoning possibilities that threaten to sweep Mema into the deep.
'She takes us to a place of the strangest innocence and lovingness ...And she takes us to a physical place that's quite her own, and when you go to her country - the lush but uneasy country inland from Byron Bay - you recognise at once that she's the voice of it, the country speaks in her voice, though the captivating wise gentleness of that voice belongs only to Jessie.' Peter Bishop
This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life.
From one of Australia's most loved novelists. He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home. 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 Hospital 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. Where children must learn that they are 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.
'I guess it started with the mothers.' 'It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.' 'I'll tell you exactly why it happened.' Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead. Was it murder, a tragic accident...or something else entirely? Big Little Lies is a funny, heartbreaking, challenging story of ex-husbands and second wives, new friendships, old betrayals and and schoolyard politics. No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves every day and what really goes on behind closed suburban doors. 'Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.' Praise for The Husband's Secret 'Intelligent and funny' SATURDAY AGE 'A staggeringly brilliant novel' Sophie Hannah, DAILY MAIL 'A nuanced and moving portrait of the meaning of love, both marital and familial' USA TODAY 'Would more rightly be classified as psychological suspense, beautifully rendered, with a structure that sustains and builds interest from beginning to end' Sue Grafton
Meet Jimmy Flick. He's not like other kids - he's both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy's mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father's way. But when Jimmy's world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.
Tilly has the day from hell when she's sacked from her barristers' chambers in the morning, then finds her husband in bed with her former best friend in the afternoon. She escapes to her mother, Roxy - a sassy solicitor whose outrageous take on men, work and family life is the despair of her more conventional daughter. Roxy comes up with a radical plan for their future - they'll set up a new-style, all female law firm which will champion women.
Before long they are rescuing women who have been cheated, put upon, attacked, ripped off or ruined by the men in their lives. When a gun-toting Grandma bursts upon the scene having shot off the testicles of the men who raped her grand daughter, Tilly finds herself at legal logger heads with Jack Cassidy, the smooth-talking, politically incorrect, legal love god who broke her heart at law school. Jack is fluent in three languages - English, sarcasm and flirtation, and his specialist area is emotional break and enter.
But if the man is so loathsome, then why is she committing Acute Lust in the 3rd degree? As Tilly struggles to keep her client out of jail and her own cravings under lock and key, will the rapists walk free?
When Tilly's 13-year old daughter goes missing, she faces the biggest moral dilemma of her life. Should she betray her beliefs and take the law into her own hands?
One morning Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she's blown in from the sea. In fact she's come to care for Ruth. Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem. Which of them can Ruth trust? And as memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, can she even trust herself?
'Me and Ben had been mates since we was boys and if it come to it I knew I would have to be on his side.' Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new constable at Mount Hay. 'Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet.' Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay; Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, 'I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.' Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. Bobby's love for Collins' wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading to tragic consequences for them all. Miller's exquisite depictions of the country of the Queensland highlands form the background of this simply told but deeply significant novel of friendship, love, loyalty and the tragic consequences of misunderstanding and mistrust. Coal Creek is a wonderfully satisfying novel with a gratifying resolution. It carries all the wisdom and emotional depth we have come to expect from Miller's richly evocative novels.
This is a story about a bloke who's losing his hearing; a bird that can't fly but likes being read to; and a teenage daughter who doesn't know who to be angry at.It's about a woman living with the echo of illness finding out how much fun it can be to trust someone; a man called Murph who has a secret; and Perry Como.It's part love story, part Hot Diggity moments of discovery, whether they happen in a rainforest or while sitting on a verandah, or in somebody's heart.Most of all, it's about giving yourself the gift to be still while you wait for the lights to change or the rain to stop, so you have time to think. For all of us, there are memories and secrets that can change our lives. If we let them.
Data theft, internet memes, advertising, terrorism, indigenous sovereignty, drone warfare, opium addiction, syphilis, the moon landing, mining, oil slicks, climate change, giant octopuses: nothing is spared in this collection. Nic Low's stories go beyond satire, aiming for the dark heart of our collective obsession with technology, power and image. Set variously in London, an Indian village, remote Mongolia, the West Australian outback and mountainous New Zealand, these are prescient visions of the future and outlandish reimaginings of the past. Arms Race is an arresting debut from a fierce, playful new voice in Australian writing.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK
----- Seven old friends decide to spend the weekend in a house perched above the Great Ocean Road. It is to be a total escape from the pressures of their various professional and domestic situations, with good food, good wine and stories. No papers, no television, no mobile phones or computers and no children - it should be a restorative break from modern life. Waiting for the last couple to arrive, they decide to take turns telling stories - true or invented? - as the weather starts to close in.
When Marshall does finally turn up, it's not with his wife but with his daughter, and the dynamics of the group shift into uncertainty - and recriminations. And the stories being told are less innocent, and when the house is cut off by a huge storm, their old friendships are called into question…
A sly social commentary, a thoughtful examination of tale-telling and its forms, and a cleverly constructed novel with unexpected flashes of cutting humour. Lindy
They were going to tell stories. Let's go away for the weekend, said Megan, and leave our phones behind and turn off the computers and television and stop time because time is moving too fast and soon we'll all be saying where the hell did our lives go? We'll cook some food and drink some wine and each tell a story. It is the middle of winter. Seven friends travel to a remote coastal beach house for the weekend. Without phones, internet or television, they sit around the fireplace, telling stories - each exposing the foibles of humankind. But as a storm rolls in and torrential rain cuts the party off from the outside world, it soon becomes clear that some secrets are best kept hidden. Demons is an extraordinary novel by one of Australia's great writers.
The ruckmen face off over the centre circle and for a moment everything is frozen possibility: players, umpire, the ball suspended overhead, the softly clouded sky. Everything except the fans, a circus beyond the stillness. Then the ball swings down and cracks it all open. The new draft pick, the tired has-been, the up-and-comer, the might-have-been. The talent scout, the coach on the edge, the beleaguered umpire, the concerned medic. The number-one fan, the lifetime members, the desperate gamblers. The footballers' mums, the WAGs, the groupies. The tags, the rivals, the sledging. The pressure. Mick Reece and Jake Dooley, best mates since childhood, begin their first professional season playing AFL with little notion of what they're getting into: the complexity of the beast that the game must feed. In Game Day, Miriam Sved brings this beast into the light over the course of one season of Aussie Rules. What unfolds is a deeply insightful novel about the pathology of an AFL club, its players and its fans. Revelling in their battles, their victories and their relentless interdependence, Game Day asks whether what unites the true believers is stronger than what divides them, and if love of the game can transcend our flaws and imperfections to result in something beautiful. Sved's debut novel is a poignant and clear-eyed exploration of what sport means for Australians, and the intensity with which we pursue and cherish it.
Stories of Sydney is a collection that celebrates the diversity that can exist in a single city. A place that is simultaneously welcoming and prejudiced, kind and cruel, aspirational and eccentric in its mundanity.
The stories range from family drama to modern noir, from cultural clashes to the burden of memory. These are stories from lives you don't often get to see, from authors as varied as the city itself.
In collaboration with SWEATSHOP: Western Sydney Literacy Movement, Seizure has been working with emerging writers from these western suburbs we hear so much about - and a few from Seizure's regular stable.
When Mike Whalen revisits his former commando training grounds at rugged, beautiful Wilsons Promontory, he's shocked by a chance meeting with the granddaughter of his glamorous old friends, Helen and Johnny. When Johnny died in the Pacific War, Mike was left with a burden of buried secrets. And as he's drawn back into the life of Helen's family, Mike finds himself overwhelmed by the past, from growing up in melting-pot Broome to tragic guerilla missions in Timor, desire in post-war Hiroshima and betrayal in the jazzy fifties. Before Mike can turn the bitter tides of memory and have any hope of happiness, he must rebuild his bonds with wartime mates, face his long-held guilt, and finally confront Helen - and himself - with the truth. From Broome to the Prom via war in the Pacific, this is a powerful saga of mateship, adventure, betrayal and passion.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK
----- Sarah Vale is the daughter of a prostitute in a small country town. She knows lots of secrets, like which of Banville's men visit her mother regularly, even if they pretend to live upright and righteous lives. She knows how to do without things, like regular meals and friends.
Tommy Johns knows how to do without things too, like his father's presence. In fact, all the people he has ever loved have disappeared. So when Sarah vanishes, he isn't surprised. She is the one friend he has. His feelings for her are actually deeper than that, but he's too careful to let them show. When he tries to tell others that Sarah is missing, nobody cares. Even the local copper, Sergeant Henson, can't undermine the indifference to her fate.
Tommy, with his fascination for local botany, is very observant, and he isn't going to give up on Sarah, and he isn't going to let others give up on her either…
A compulsively readable novel, with a few twists to keep the reader guessing. Very much in the vein of Jasper Jones
by Craig Silvey
, if a comparison is needed, a quietly confident and multi-layered representation of secrets and undercurrents in small town life. ~ Lindy
In small town suburbia, three young men are ready to make their mark.
Solomon is all charisma, authority and charm, down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family and his homeland, and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?
Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip hop and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it'll take is a spark.
As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it's not what they were waiting for. It never is.
'This stunning debut novel has such swaggering exuberance that it will make most other fiction you read this year seem criminally dull. You have been warned.' Irvine Welsh
'Omar Musa's writing is tough and tender, harsh and poetic, raw and beautiful, it speaks to how we live and dream now. This novel broke my heart a little but it also made me ecstatic at the possibilities of what the best writing can do. His voice is genuine, new and exciting; his voice roars.' Christos Tsiolkas
Hauntingly beautiful and told with remarkable clarity, Over the Water is the story of an Australian outsider who finds teaching work in Bandung, a city in Java.
Seduced by the sights, sounds, and magic of Indonesia, Joe finds himself unwittingly drawn into the lives of three women. Firstly he rents a room in fellow teacher Lisa's house, and discovers that she has a small harem of Indonesian boys living with her. Then there is Danu, a Javanese beauty, who says she is trying to escape an arranged marriage. Danu and Joe find common ground in seeking aspects of themselves 'over the water' - for Danu this means the West, for Joe it means the East. Joe also feels a connection with Babette, a reclusive English woman who lives in a crumbling Dutch villa. She is an old friend of Joe's elder brother, Emile, who once lived in Bandung. Her relationship with Emile has long ceased, but Joe makes a remarkable discovery.
As Over the Water unfolds, Joe discovers that his identity is not only fragile, it is disturbingly arbitrary. Based at least in part on the author's experiences of living in Indonesia, this compelling debut is the quintessential novel about East and West, and how our dreams manifest themselves.
A kind of Wake in Fright set in Indonesia, Lane paints an unsentimental portrait of wanderlust and the perils of freedom. But he doesn't stop there. With hallucinatory vision, he draws back the curtains to reveal the inevitable pull and power of a mythic undertow. Courtney Collins, author of The Burial.
What happens when three otherwise normal people undergo radical medical treatments that make them international curiosities? They become wonders.
Leon has a small visible mechanical heart; Kathryn has been cured of a rare genetic disorder but is now covered in curly black wool; while performance artist Christos has metal wings implanted into his back.
Brought together by a canny entrepreneur, 'The Wonders' are transformed into a glamorous, genre-defying, twenty-first-century freak show. But what makes them objects of fascination also places them in danger. Challenging our ideas about celebrity, disability and the value of human life, The Wonders is a boldly inventive, acute and moving novel from one of Australia's finest authors.
"Paddy O'Reilly is a significant Australian talent all readers should be aware of." THE AUSTRALIAN
When you're at the end of the line with nowhere to turn - how far would you go to protect the one you love? A man is found dead in an inner-city suburb, a police officer walks the blurry line between duty and loyalty, and a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks is on the run. Ana soon becomes a suspect in the murder investigation and as sole carer for her young sister is desperately trying to stay ahead of the law. In a surprising twist, the detective in charge of the case is no stranger and Ana is forced to face her past and the things she has left behind. Unsure of who she can trust and isolated by her crime, Ana is drawn into a passionate affair that breaks all the rules.
Vianna Francis, known in the colony as 'The Sydney Venus', is a notorious young mistress in keeping to a former gentleman convict, who uses her to entice wealthy men to his gaming tables. A woman of mystery, Vianna is a magnet for scandal. Was she the mistress of a Royal duke? A lady's maid who learned the tricks of the world's oldest profession when in service to a Parisian courtesan? Or the widow of a young man executed on the gallows? Men of high rank are determined to possess this passionate, mercenary beauty. The L'Estrange half-brothers were born only months apart. One brother is an idealistic dreamer, the other a volatile adventurer. And the rivals have two things in common - a fatal attraction to get-rich schemes that run afoul of the law - and their obsession with Vianna.
When Audrey Kepler inherits an abandoned homestead in rural Queensland, she jumps at the chance to escape her loveless existence in the city and make a fresh start. In a dusty back room of the old house, she discovers the crumbling photo of a handsome World War Two medic - Samuel Riordan, the homestead's former occupant - and soon finds herself becoming obsessed with him. But as Audrey digs deeper into Samuel's story, she discovers he was accused of bashing to death a young woman on his return from the war in 1946. When she learns about other unexplained deaths in recent years - one of them a young woman with injuries echoing those of the first victim - she begins to suspect that the killer is still very much alive. And now Audrey, thanks to her need to uncover the past, has provided him with good reason to want to kill again.
At the outbreak of World War I, Dominic Langton leaves his wife on a remote sheep farm in New South Wales to enlist in the British Army. What he experiences in the trenches changes him forever; his return home sees him cast off his past and find his own integrity. He has seen the true nature of war - the senseless waste of life, the millions of young men condemned to pointless slaughter - and has emerged a wiser, but troubled, man. When Blackbirds Sing is a masterful recreation of the vanished world of 1914, and a moving and powerful testament to the devastation of war. In this final instalment of Martin Boyd's celebrated Langton Quartet, Boyd confirms his reputation as one of the most outstanding novelists Australia has ever produced.
Schoolboy narrator Daniel Jordan, growing up in working-class Sydney during the Second World War, is confused by a world in which the religious dogma of his school conflicts with the communism of his family's terrifying neighbour, the 'Comrade'. Refreshingly unsentimental, this is the funny, ultimately tragic story of a boy struggling to understand a world in which concepts like innocence and guilt, good and evil are clearly open to interpretation.
When Palestinian guerillas hijack a flight from New York to Frankfurt, they find an Aboriginal dance troupe among the passengers. Similarly dispossessed of their land, whose side will the Aborigines take? Conflicts of loyalty, terror and revolutionary fervour form the explosive ingredients in this riveting and thought-provoking novel.
In turn-of-the-century Australia, Tim Shea supports his young family by running a general store in a remote riverside town, where he finds the same hypocrisy and snobbery which made him emigrate from Ireland, and suffers a series of misfortunes which take him to the brink of disaster. Capturing the spirit of the times, this is the mesmerising tale of a flawed hero whose stubborn integrity is nearly his undoing.