ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Set in the early 90s, when the country is dealing with recession and increased unemployment, this charming debut novel celebrates the working class battlers of outer suburban Melbourne. Ron is an experienced fossicker at garage sales, roadside hard rubbish and Trading Post listings, but is having trouble since his wife died. A chance meeting with a troubled woman at the local CES office sees him take on her son, 19yo Joseph, as his offsider. Joseph is listless and lost, but as the story unfolds the reasons for this are made clear. Together these two odd characters learn from each other, and the hope that one day the trash piles will turn out an authentic treasure - like a Fred McCubbin original - fuels their searches. A novel full of heart that examines life on the outside of luck, without sentimentality but with a lot of gentle sympathy. Lindy
The Pines, an outer Melbourne suburb down on its luck. A country in the grip of recession.
Experienced collector Ron senses new possibilities: swift evictions provide hard-rubbish to scour and garage-sales have doubled. There's only one problem: since losing his wife, Ron has struggled to navigate the suburbs alone. Plus, his deteriorating health slows him down.
This all changes through a chance meeting with Joseph, a troubled, withdrawn and unemployed 19-year old who knows nothing about antiques. As Joseph comes to understand and appreciate Ron's world of eccentric bargain hunters, and hopefulness, his ability to navigate a history of family violence and to see a future for himself grows. Both come to share the wild dream of finding a rare bargain such as an original Frederick McCubbin painting and making their fortune. So begins an exhilarating adventure and an unlikely and beautiful friendship.
Set against the background of the early 1990s, Chasing the McCubbin is funny and sad in equal measure. A story of loneliness and the ageless desire for belonging, it will be the most heartbreaking yet feel-good novel you will read this year.
'Truly fine writing with a great sense of characters and place, sympathetic and heartfelt without being sentimental, Scaunich pulls us into a fascinating world of low stakes and petty rivalries.' - Graeme Simsion
'Authentic, subtle, evocative and alive.' - Kate Ryan