ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- The unusual collection of stories had me intrigued from the beginning. I was excited to see how the author would explore the idea, and was not disappointed by what I read. Engaging, witty, and thoughtful ‘Only the Animals’ offers an interesting perspective on human interactions and experiences with each other, and the world. Jessica
Perhaps only the animals can tell us what it is to be human. In a trench on the Western Front, a cat recalls her owner Colette's theatrical antics in Paris. In Nazi Germany a dog seeks enlightenment. A Russian tortoise once owned by the Tolstoys drifts in space during the Cold War. In the siege of Sarajevo a bear starving to death tells a fairytale. And a dolphin sent to Iraq by the US Navy writes a letter to Sylvia Plath...
An animal's eye-view of humans at out brutal, violent worst and our creative, imaginative best, it asks us to find out way back to empathy not only for animals, but for other people, and to believe again in the redemptive power of reading and writing fiction.
Exquisitely written, playful and poignant, Only the Animals is a remarkable literary achievement by one of our brightest young writers.
'I woke with a gasp. And lay in the dark, open-mouthed, holding my breath. That feeling... that feeling was indescribable. For a moment I had felt as if I were falling... falling into bliss.'
All his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which some people slip - seemingly unquestioningly - into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth. As he moves into middle age, Richard grows increasingly angry. But then a strange event awakens him to a different way of living. He finds himself on a quest, almost against his own will, to resolve the 'divine discontent' he has suffered since childhood. From pharmaceuticals to new age therapies and finding a guru, Richard's journey dramatises the search for meaning in today's world.
This moving and audacious novel is a pilgrim's progress for the here and now. Suffused with yearning and a sense of the mystical, this extraordinary novel is one of Lohrey's finest offerings yet.
1943 is a dangerous time to fall in love...
In wartime Melbourne loose lips sink ships, so when Australian Women's Army sergeant Stella Aldridge overhears soldiers whispering about a revenge killing, she follows her instincts to investigate, despite finding herself drawn to one of the soldiers, the enigmatic Staff Sergeant Eric Lund. But the world is at war and there is little time for romance. Someone in the Australian Intelligence Bureau is trading secrets and it's up to Stella and her uncompromising superior officer, Lieutenant Nick Ross, to find the traitor. When Eric's team is scheduled to be deployed in a dangerous mission to the South West Pacific, Stella races to uncover the truth or risk not only Eric's life, but the security of Australia itself.
Torn between protecting the ones she loves and her duty to her country, Stella chooses to pursue the truth at all costs. Even if it means putting herself in the firing line...
When patriarch Gerald Hawkins passes away in his Tasmanian home after ten years of serious illness, his family experiences a wave of grief and, admittedly, a surge of relief. Gerald's dominating personality has loomed large over his wife Connie and their children, Andrew and Kerry, for most of their lives. Connie, whose own dreams were dispensed with upon marriage, is now determined to renew her long friendship with Gerald's estranged sister. She travels to France where she finds Flora struggling to make peace with the past and searching for a place to call home. Meanwhile Andrew's marriage is crumbling, and Kerry is trapped in stasis by unfinished business with her father. As the family adjusts to life after Gerald, they could not be more splintered. And there are surprises in store and secrets to unravel that could either unite or divide them forever. Is it possible that they could find a way to start afresh with forgiveness, understanding and possibility? Or is Gerald's legacy too heavy a burden to overcome?
Alice Campion is the pseudonym for five members of a Sydney book club who challenged themselves to write a '21st Century Thorn Birds'. The result is a captivating rural novel, brimming with romance, mystery and suspense. Nina never knew what happened to her father, the celebrated artist Jim Larkin. One minute he was her devoted dad, the next he'd disappeared without trace. Seventeen years later, she's still haunted by the mystery. Until a call from outback Wandalla changes everything. At first, Nina's inheritance of a waterless property and a farmhouse stuffed with junk seems more like a burden than a gift. But this was her father's childhood home - and possibly her last chance to discover the truth. So what is the local solicitor, Harrison Grey, not telling her as he hands over the keys? Why does the area's wealthiest resident, Hilary Flint, seem to hate her so much? What is the significance of the gold locket with cryptic engravings that Nina always wears? And why, on top of everything, is she inexplicably drawn to her soon-to-be-married neighbour, Heath Blackett?
Caddie had to survive. Left without money, and with two young children to fend for, Caddie set out to make a new life by working at the only job she could find - behind the bar of a hotel.
This is the true story of a desperate struggle against the almost overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression, against bad rooming-houses, bed bugs and illness, against exploitation and the lawless corruption of her working environment.
But the story of Caddie is more than a story of survival. It is the story of a mother's love for her children and of her willingness to sacrifice everything for them. It is a story of courage shown by a woman who knew loneliness, hunger and despair but refused to be self-pitying or invite the pity of others. It is a story of heart-warming and inspiring triumph.
Growing up with his father in a small coastal town, all Ted knows about his mother is that she died when he was a boy. His father has brought them halfway across the world to start anew, but her absence defines and haunts their lives. When Ted meets Anthony and Claire, an intense friendship begins, carrying them to Sydney and university. They introduce him to poetry and art, and he feels a sense of belonging at last. But as the trio's friendship deepens over the years, Ted must learn to negotiate the boundaries of love, and come to terms with a legacy of secrets and silence. Written with extraordinary grace and sensitivity, The Ash Burner explores beauty and desire, grief and loss, and the search for one's true self.
Five women, best friends for decades, meet once a month to talk about books...and life, love and the jagged bits in between. Dissecting each other's lives seems the most natural thing in the world - and honesty, no matter how brutal, is something they treasure. Best friends tell each other everything, don't they? But each woman harbours a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck. Izzy, soon to be the first Black woman with her own television show, has to make a decision that will change everything. Veronica, recently divorced and dedicated to raising the best sons in the world, has forgotten who she is. Xanthe, desperate for a baby, can think of nothing else, even at the expense of her marriage. Nadine, so successful at writing other people's stories, is determined to blot out her own. Ellen, footloose by choice, begins to question all that she's fought for. When their circle begins to fracture and the old childhood ways don't work anymore, is their sense of sistahood enough to keep it intact? How well do these tiddas really know each other?
'Killing isn't done in hatred, killing is done in fear.'
Michael and Dan, and their mates Lennie, Chook and Mack are packed into the war boats and missing home. After the surreal panic of that first charge on the Turkish beaches, the Australians must learn how to stay alive in the lottery of warfare. They have been taught to hate their enemies, but as the seasons turn, Michael realises that the men he fights aren't so different from himself - and that they will all be irrevocably changed by the senseless brutality of war.
The Gallipoli story is etched into national legend - over the blood and bone of the men who died there, and the friendships of those who lived. From a powerful and evocative writer comes the haunting story of one boy's journey to manhood in the trenches at Gallipoli.
The Hurlingford family have ruled the small town of Byron, nestled in the Blue Mountains, for generations. Wealthy, powerful and cruel, they get what they want, every time. Missy Wright lives with her widowed mother and crippled aunt in genteel poverty. Hurlingfords by birth, all three are victim to the family's rule of inheritance: the men take it all. Plain, thin and unforgivably single, it seems Missy's life is destined to be dreary. But then a stranger arrives in town. A divorcee from Sydney. And she opens Missy's eyes to the possibility of a happy ending. This is an endearing tale, full of wit, warmth and romance, from the bestselling author of THE THORN BIRDS.
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.
Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd risk her young family's future to save her fledgling business. 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, Leila 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. 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.
An Anzac tale of three families whose destinies are entwined by war, tragedy and passion. At 17, Veronica O'Shay is happier running wild on the family farm than behaving in the ladylike manner her mother requires, and she despairs both of her secret passion for her brother's friend Jack Murphy and what promises to be a future of restraint and compliance. But this is 1913 and the genteel tranquillity of rural Beecroft is about to change forever as the O'Shay and Murphy families, along with their friends the Dwyers, are caught up in the theatre of war and their fates become intertwined. From the horrors of Gallipoli to the bloody battles of the Somme, through love lost and found, the Great Depression and the desperate jungle war along the Kokoda Track, this sprawling family drama brings to life a time long past...a time of desperate love born in desperate times and acts of friendship against impossible odds. A love letter to Australian landscape and character, Gallipoli Street celebrates both mateship and the enduring quality of real love. But more than that, this book shows us where we have come from as a nation, by revealing the adversity and passions that forged us. A stunning novel that brings to life the love and courage that formed our Anzac tradition.
Catriona and James are desperate for children, and embark on an IVF program. After a gruelling round of treatments, Catriona finally falls pregnant, and they donate their remaining embryo anonymously. Diana and Liam are on a waiting list to receive an embryo. Sooner than expected, they are thrilled to discover one is available.
After a difficult pregnancy, Catriona gives birth to Sebastian. But severe postnatal depression affects her badly, and quickly turns into deadly psychosis. For her protection and her baby's, she's admitted into psychiatric care. When she comes home, she again struggles to bond with her baby, but gradually life finds its own rhythm.
Meanwhile, Diana has given birth to a beautiful little boy, Noah. But when he is two months old Noah is abducted... and Diana and Liam's nightmare begins.
As her parents clash over unwashed dishes and unlit fires, ten-year-old Laura works hard to keep the household running. When her mother disappears into the bush, Laura finds a farewell note and makes an impulsive decision that alters the course of her family's life. Despite her anger and grief, Laura helps her father clear their wild acreage to carve out a farm. But gradually they realise that while they may own the land, they cannot tame it - nor can they escape their past. Anchor Point charts Laura's life over the course of four decades as she tries to hold her family together and find her place in the world. Eventually, she has to confront the choices she has made and decide where she truly belongs. This is an eloquent, arresting and quintessentially Australian novel that no reader will easily forget.
Claire is good at beginnings. Mid-twenties and mid-PhD, she's moved halfway around the world to San Francisco – where the line between adolescence and adulthood is blurry, and every night feels new. Too smart to be serious, she divides her time between her friends, her band, her ex-boyfriend, potential new boyfriends, whiskies with beer backs, and occasionally her thesis.
And then, by accident, life starts to get messy.
Hot Little Hands contains nine funny, confronting and pitch-perfect stories about stumbling on the fringes of innocence, and the marks desire can leave. Anya, in her fake-leather sneakers and second-hand clothes, just wants to fit in at her Melbourne school. Ramona, with her suburban family and clique of friends, is just starting to stand out. Sascha is on the brink of discovery; Elise and Jenni are well beyond it. Amelia will do absolutely anything to avoid writing her book. And Kira wants to capture the world, exactly as she sees it, with her brand-new camera.
There are tales about now – about first encounters with lasting impressions, and break-ups that last longer than the relationships; about a time when late-night text messages are considered a courtship, and the most personal secrets get casually revealed online. It is the debut of a striking, wry, utterly fresh new voice in Australian literature.
Isobel Callaghan is struggling to make a career as a writer in Sydney. She is isolated, poor and hungry, and fears she's going mad. Leaving her room in a boarding house in search of food, she has a breakdown on the way to the corner shop. Waking in hospital, Isobel learns that she will be confined to a sanatorium in the Blue Mountains. There, among the motley assortment of patients, and with the aid of great works of literature, she will confront the horrors of her past. But can she find a way to face the future? Confronting and compassionate, profound and funny, the second Isobel Callaghan novel is every bit as brilliant as its much-loved predecessor. It confirmed Amy Witting as one of the finest Australian writers of her time.