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To Sing of War

Catherine McKinnon

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$32.99

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English
HARPER360
01 May 2024

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Taking place over the course of the last year of WWII, this follows the fates of different people: Lotte, a nurse stationed in Aitape, New Guinea; Virgil, her first love, fighting in the jungles of New Guinea; Hiroko who runs the family ryokan on the sacred island of Miyajima and worries about her husband fighting for the Emperor 'somewhere hot'; and various scientists developing the 'gadget' at Los Alamos, including Robert Oppenheimer, his disaffected wife Kitty, and a young woman physicist, Mim Carver. Although it sounds like a lot of viewpoints in different places, McKinnon braids the stories together with a deft touch and distinctive voices, so it is easy to follow the strands. Each person is doing what is necessary to survive this episode of history, each has to put aside scruples or ingrained expectations, each yearns for something more...

A rich and moving novel about people caught up in something so much larger than them, but who are determined to keep something fine and true amongst the uncertainty and chaos, and to make connections that will sustain. Lindy

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From the author of the Miles Franklin Award shortlisted Storyland, comes a rich, layered and thrilling novel of love, war and friendship, To Sing of War.

'Transcends the boundaries of historical fiction' Books+Publishing

DECEMBER 1944 In New Guinea, a young Australian nurse, Lotte Wyld, chances upon her first love, Virgil Nicholson, a soldier in the Allies' hard-fought jungle campaign. At Los Alamos in the United States, idealistic physicists Miriam Carver and Fred Johnson join Robert Oppenheimer and a team of brilliant scientists in a collective dream to build a weapon that will stop all war, while Kitty Oppenheimer wrestles with restrictions on her freedom. And on the sacred island of Miyajima in Japan, Hiroko Narushima is doing her best to protect her family.

Each of these people yearns to belong, yet each fiercely protects their independence. Secrets, misunderstandings and fears burden them; shame shapes them; hope and imagination lift them up. They are caught in a moment of history, both enthralled and appalled by actions they must undertake.

A beautiful, rich and intricately woven novel, To Sing of War asks how one person can make a difference in a world that is wondrous, thrilling and endangered. It insists on our interconnectedness, hums with the energy of the world and is a blazingly powerful and deeply moving account of friendship, love and war.

By:  
Imprint:   HARPER360
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   481g
ISBN:   9781460757994
ISBN 10:   1460757998
Pages:   368
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Catherine McKinnon lives in the Southern Highlands with her husband, painter and sculptor Gary Christian. She teaches creative writing at the University of Wollongong. Her novel Storyland (Fourth Estate, 2017) was shortlisted for five literary awards including, in 2018, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Voss Literary Prize. Merrigong Theatre has commissioned an adaption of the novel, to be co-written by Catherine and Aunty Barb Nicholson. Catherine is one of the authors of 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder (Open Humanities Press, 2019) and was co-winner of the 2015 competition that selected five novellas for publication in Griffith Review 50: Tall Tales Short—The Novella Project 111. Her first novel, The Nearly Happy Family, was published by Penguin in 2008. Her plays have been produced nationally and her short stories, reviews and essays have appeared in Griffith Review, Text Journal, Meanjin, Narrative and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Reviews for To Sing of War

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Taking place over the course of the last year of WWII, this follows the fates of different people: Lotte, a nurse stationed in Aitape, New Guinea; Virgil, her first love, fighting in the jungles of New Guinea; Hiroko who runs the family ryokan on the sacred island of Miyajima and worries about her husband fighting for the Emperor 'somewhere hot'; and various scientists developing the 'gadget' at Los Alamos, including Robert Oppenheimer, his disaffected wife Kitty, and a young woman physicist, Mim Carver. Although it sounds like a lot of viewpoints in different places, McKinnon braids the stories together with a deft touch and distinctive voices, so it is easy to follow the strands. Each person is doing what is necessary to survive this episode of history, each has to put aside scruples or ingrained expectations, each yearns for something more...

A rich and moving novel about people caught up in something so much larger than them, but who are determined to keep something fine and true amongst the uncertainty and chaos, and to make connections that will sustain. Lindy


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