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Red Heaven

Nicolas Rothwell



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Text Publishing Company
03 August 2021
Red Heaven is the story of a child’s journey to adulthood, his loss of those he loves and his fixing of them in memory. It begins in the late 1960s in Switzerland, as the boy’s ideas about life are being shaped by two rival influences.

These are his so-called aunts—imperious, strong-willed, ambitious—both exiles, at the mercy of outside political events; both determined to make the boy into their own heir, an inheritor of their values. In self-contained episodes, each set in an alpine grand hotel, we see one aunt and then the other educate their protégé.

Serghiana, the ‘red princess’, is the daughter of a Soviet general, a producer of films and worshipper of art, a true believer. Ady, a former actress and singer, is a dilettante and cynic, Viennese, married to a great conductor: in her eyes, all is surface, truth a mere illusion.

Memory and nostalgia—the aunts’ gifts to the boy, gifts of obligation—are the purest expression of love allowed them. Gradually he comes to understand the shadows in their past. Their stories stay with him, guiding his path through adolescence, until he can absorb the influences of the wider world.

Red Heaven is about the people who make us what we are: how they come into our lives, affect us, then depart the stage. This fiction, alive to the elusive beauties and sadnesses of the world, is Nicolas Rothwell’s finest achievement.
Imprint:   Text Publishing Company
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   468g
ISBN:   9781922458049
ISBN 10:   192245804X
Pages:   400
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nicolas Rothwell lives in Far North Queensland and is a former foreign correspondent. His award-winning books include The Red Highway, Belomor and, most recently, Quicksilver.

Reviews for Red Heaven

'A caster of spells.' -- Australian Book Review 'Hugely impressive.' -- Guardian 'Remarkable.' -- Age 'A weird and wonderful writer.' -- Australian 'Melancholy, singular, exhilarating.' -- Delia Falconer 'Rothwell's writing resists easy description. He roams the borderlands between memoir and fiction and insinuates himself into gaps between time and place...His prose is lush and often beautiful.' -- Weekend Australian on Belomor 'Outstanding...Romantic, dramatic, intelligent, cultured, enigmatic, cinematic...Rothwell walks alongside W. G. Sebald, Bruce Chatwin and Teju Cole...[Red Heaven] made me feel alive as I read.' * Australian * 'Red Heaven is the account, rendered on a grand scale by the most exquisite and enigmatic figure in contemporary Australian literature, of how one boy grew out of his tangled inheritance and found his own.' * Saturday Paper * 'Nicolas Rothwell is exquisite, a writer whose work is hung with the insignia of the world's art and literature. He is a cultivated writer...Red Heaven is a book that will fascinate the literary seeker.' * Peter Craven, Age * 'A work of genuine intellectual exploration, original and provocative.' * Australian Book Review * 'An engrossing novel of ideas.' * Glyn Davis, ABR Books of the Year 2021 * 'Full of literary parallels, symbols and ideas...Red Heaven stretches the boundaries of fiction...I enjoyed Rothwell's attention to the history of ideas and admired the rich character development.' * Historical Novel Society *

  • Long-listed for Mark & Evette Moran NIB Literary Award 2022 (Australia)
  • Nominated for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award 2022 (Australia)
  • Nominated for The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award 2022 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for Fiction, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2022 (Australia)
  • Winner of Fiction, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2022 (Australia)

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