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Australian Fiction

Bruny

Bruny

Heather Rose

$32.99
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ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- Astrid Coleman belongs to Tasmania's political family - her father was a well liked Labor politician, her older sister is the Labor Opposition Leader, and her twin brother is the Liberal Premier. She took off as soon as she could, and rarely comes back. Her job as a UN conflict resolution specialist and her family in New York give her enough excuses not to return too often - until she receives a request and advice that she should… Her brother's pet infrastructure project - a magnificent bridge linking Bruny Island to the mainland, being built with the assistance of Chinese concerns - has been sabotaged and he needs her to step in to help smooth the way for its resumption. The residents of Bruny are on the whole, none too happy about their way of life being so disrupted. As she gathers information, it is all too obvious to her that bigger things are at stake, and they aren't being shared with the populace. And it might turn out, that she isn't sharing everything she knows with her brother, either! A real corker of a novel, which artfully combines the personal with the political, whilst envisaging scenarios that may not be so implausible in the very near future. Lindy Jones

----

How far would your government go?

A right-wing US president has withdrawn America from the Middle East and the UN. Daesh has a thoroughfare to the sea and China is Australia's newest ally. When a bomb goes off in remote Tasmania, Astrid Coleman agrees to return home to help her brother before an upcoming election. But this is no simple task. Her brother and sister are on either side of politics, the community is full of conspiracy theories, and her father is quoting Shakespeare. Only on Bruny does the world seem sane.

Until Astrid discovers how far the government is willing to go.

Bruny is a searing, subversive, brilliant novel about family, love, loyalty and the new world order.

Praise for The Museum of Modern Love:

'A glorious novel, meditative and special in a way that defies easy articulation.' Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites 'Audacious and beautiful.' Dominic Smith, author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos 'I adored it, and it is my book of the year so far.' Amanda Rayner, Readings Reviews '... coruscates with captivating energy ... Incisive, beautiful, and precise.' Foreword Reviews, starred review 'Captivating ... a gem of a novel.' Library Journal, starred review 'Deeply involving ... profound ... emotionally rich and thought-provoking.' Booklist, starred review 'With rare subtlety and humanity, this novel relocates the difficult path to wonder in us all.' The Christina Stead Prize 2017 'Profound ... a tender meditation on art, love, grief, and life.' Bustle 'An unusual and lively work of fiction.' Newsday


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The Weekend

The Weekend

Charlotte Wood

$29.99
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People went on about death bringing friends together, but it wasn't true. The graveyard, the stony dirt - that's what it was like now . . . Despite the three women knowing each other better than their own siblings, Sylvie's death had opened up strange caverns of distance between them.

Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?

They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie's old beach house - not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold.

Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface - and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we're forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

'A compelling and vivid look at the friendships we make as women. Honest, unsettling and, like all good literature, had me asking questions about life and myself.' Heather Rose, author of The Museum of Modern Love, winner of the 2017 Stella Prize


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Paris Savages

Paris Savages

Katherine Johnson

$32.99
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`This story has its genesis in fact, when three Fraser Island people were taken to Germany in 1882-83. The sole survivor was Bonangera (Boni/Bonny) whose life-size plaster cast remains at the Musee des Confluences, Lyon, France. The silencing that Badtjala people continue to endure in the localised historiography of place is ongoing.' Dr Fiona Foley, Badtjala artist and academic

Fraser Island, 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. When German scientist Louis Muller offers to sail three Badtjala people - Bonny, Jurano and Dorondera - to Europe to perform to huge crowds, the proud and headstrong Bonny agrees, hoping to bring his people's plight to the Queen of England.

Accompanied by Mullers bright, grieving daughter, Hilda, the group begins their journey to belle-epoque Europe to perfom in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and eventually London. While crowds in Europe are enthusiastic to see the unique dances, singing, fights and pole climbing from the oldest culture in the world, the attention is relentless, and the fascination of scientists intrusive. When disaster strikes, Bonny must find a way to return home.

A story of love, bravery, culture, and the fight against injustice, Paris Savages brings a little-known part of history to blazing life, from award-winning novelist Katherine Johnson.


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The Divers' Game

The Divers' Game

Jesse Ball

$24.99
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From the inimitable mind of award-winning author Jesse Ball, a novel about an unsettlingly familiar society that has renounced the concept of equality-and the devastating consequences of unmitigated power.

The old-fashioned struggle for fairness has finally been abandoned. It was a misguided endeavour. The world is divided into two groups, pats and quads. The pats may kill the quads as they like, and do. The quads have no recourse but to continue with their lives.

The Divers' Game is a thinly veiled description of our society, an extreme case that demonstrates a truth- we must change or our world will collapse. What is the effect of constant fear on a life, or on a culture? Brilliantly constructed and achingly tender, The Divers' Game shatters the notion of common decency as the binding agent between individuals, forcing us to consider whether compassion is intrinsic to the human experience. With his signature empathy and ingenuity, Jesse Ball's latest work solidifies his reputation as one of contemporary fiction's most mesmerising talents.
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Turn Left at Venus

Turn Left at Venus

Inez Baranay

$29.99
They were two little girls on a very big boat. In the 1930s, Ada and Leyla meet as children on a boat bringing migrants from Old Europe to the New World. They talk of seeing kangaroos yet end up living miles apart from each other in suburban Sydney. Their separations are often lengthy but their friendship endures across continents and decades and is a thread in this haunting story of writing, relationships and ageing. Ada (A.L. Ligeti) becomes an author, searching for a Utopian world, exploring aspects of patriarchy and gender in her groundbreaking feminist science fiction novel called Turn Left at Venus. That novel and its sequels are celebrated and much discussed by generations of fans. Memory and imagination fold seamlessly into one another as Ada keeps moving on, from relationships and places, living in hotels and rental spaces in Kings Cross, San Francisco, Ubud and elsewhere. Baranay's emotionally resonant portrait of the solitary and artistic life, lived adventurously across space and time, triumphantly celebrates the singularity of being, of age, of imagination, and of the 'getting ready' for the ending that life demands. 'A gripping treaty at the crossroads of fictive biography and speculative fiction about what it means to become old. Nothing is left untouched, unexplored: The life of the mind and the life of the body, inner space and outer space. It is a complex, magnificently written novel that replicates the way in which lived life and imagined life keep feeding each other.' - Arianna Dagnino, author of The Afrikaaner and Transcultural Writers and Novels in the Age of Global Mobility
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In Whom We Trust

In Whom We Trust

John Clanchy

$28.00
'One of Australia's most stimulating contemporary writers.'Canberra Times

Although set a hundred years ago, John Clanchy's new novel powerfully captures the devastating and persistent reality of a fundamental flaw in the role of our major institutions. Central to In Whom We Trust is James Pearse, an essentially good but circumstantially weak man, who is forced to examine his role at the St Barnabas Home for Children, an orphanage that has betrayed the individuals entrusted to its care. He must face the devastating wider consequences of a life of moral equivocation.

Clanchy has been writing fiction for forty years -In Whom We Trust is his twelfth book- and has won numerous local, state, national and international awards for his novels, novellas and short stories.

Some review comments on Clanchy's writing:
'Clanchy presents moral dilemmas with a clear eye… He writes as if bothwords and people are important to him.' The Age
'Clanchy has...psychological acuity, stylistic variety and an unpretentious and justified confidence in his story-telling gifts.' The Canberra Times, Brisbane Times
'...moments of humour form a perfect counterbalance to the more serious content found... Expertly told, without a false note.' Australian Book Review
'Writing that glows with the reassuring light of Clanchy's compassion and humanity.' The West Australian

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The Sea & Us

The Sea & Us

Catherine de Saint Phalle

$29.99
From the Stella shortlisted author of Poum and Alexandre, this is a heartwarming novel about longing, absence and the people we unexpectedly come to love.

After many years spent living in Seoul, a young man called Harold drifts back to Australia and rents a room above a fish and chip shop called The Sea & Us. Who he meets and what he experiences there propels him to question his own yearnings and failings, and to fight for meaning and a sense of place that can only be reached by facing what is lost.

By turns electric, tender, and hopeful, The Sea & Us is a gem of literary imagination. Catherine de Saint Phalle brilliantly captures disparate characters and their common human desire for community and connection. Long after the last page closes, 'we can hear the bell tinkle. Someone wants some fish and chips.' 'Mesmerising. Full of love and charm...beautifully written.' - Herald Sun
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Act of Grace

Act of Grace

Anna Krien

$32.99
Iraqi aspiring pianist Nasim falls from favour with Saddam Hussein and his psychopathic son, triggering a perilous search for safety. In Australia, decades later, Gerry is in fear of his tyrannical father, Toohey, who has returned from the Iraq War bearing the physical and psychological scars of conflict. Meanwhile, Robbie is dealing with her own father's dementia when the past enters the present.

These characters' worlds intertwine in a brilliant narrative of guilt and reckoning, trauma and survival. Crossing the frontiers of war, protest and reconciliation, Act of Grace is a meditation on inheritance- the damage that one generation passes on to the next, and the potential for transformation.
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The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

Joanna Nell

$32.99
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As the wife of retired ship's doctor Dr Henry Parker, Evelyn is living out her twilight years aboard the Golden Sunset. Every night she dresses for dinner - gown, tiara, runners - and regales her fellow passengers with stories of a glamorous life travelling the world in luxury as well as showing off her superior knowledge of everything from ships' customs to biographical details of her heroine, Florence Nightingale. The crew treat her with deference. And forbearance.

But when Henry goes missing, Evelyn sets off to search every part of the grand ocean liner to find him, casino, nightclub and off-limits areas included. Misadventures are had, new friends are made, scandalous behaviour noted - all news to Evelyn. If only she could remember the events of the night before as clearly as she can recall the first time she met Henry on a passage from England to Australia in 1953 and fell in love, abandoning her dreams to become a midwife to be a wife instead - and the long-ago painful events that left Evelyn all at sea.

Why is it so hard to remember some things and so hard to forget others? And where is Henry? The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker is a love letter to the memories we make over the course of a lifetime, and how the heart remembers what matters, even when the mind has long forgotten.
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Khaki Town

Khaki Town

Judy Nunn

$32.99
Khaki Town, Judy Nunn's exciting new novel, is inspired by a true wartime story that has remained a well-kept secret for over seventy years.

It seems to have happened overnight, Val thought . How extraordinary. We've become a khaki town.

It's March 1942. Singapore has fallen. Darwin has been bombed. Australia is on the brink of being invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces. And Val Callahan, publican of The Brown's Bar in Townsville, could not be happier as she contemplates the fortune she's making from lonely, thirsty soldiers.

Overnight the small Queensland city is transformed into the transport hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers destined for combat in the South Pacific. Barbed wire and gun emplacements cover the beaches. Historic buildings are commandeered. And the dance halls are in full swing with jazz, jitterbug and jive.

The Australian troops begrudge the confident, well-fed 'Yanks' who have taken over their town and their women. There's growing conflict, too, within the American ranks, because black GIs are enjoying the absence of segregation. And the white GIs don't like it.

As racial violence explodes through the ranks of the military, a young United States Congressman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is sent to Townsville by his president to investigate. 'Keep a goddamned lid on it, Lyndon,' he is told, 'lest it explode in our faces ...'
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Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips

Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips

Matt Okine

$29.99
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'An extremely talented storyteller and comedian...this book is full of heart and humour' - Ronny Chieng

'a compelling novel that is difficult to put down' - Books + Publishing

Mike Amon is a regular teenager. All he wants is to fit in. He wants to sit at the cool bench. He wants to be a star athlete. He wants his first kiss.

He also wants his mum to survive.

When his mum is suddenly diagnosed with advanced breast and brain cancer, Mike knows it's a long shot, but if he manages to achieve his dreams, maybe it'll give his mum enough strength to beat an incurable disease.

In the meantime, he has to live with his African dad whom he doesn't really know, a man who has strange foreign ways - and who Mike doesn't really feel comfortable sharing his teenage desires and deepest fears with. He doesn't even want to think about what it might mean if his mum never comes home from the hospital.

Based on his award-winning stand-up show, and the loss of his own mother when he was 12, Matt Okine's coming-of-age novel is a funny, heart-warming, and sometimes surreal look at how young people deal with grief, the loss of loved ones, and becoming an adult - all whilst desperately trying to fit in with the other kids.

'Intimate and affecting' - Claudia Karvan

'Hilarious, heartfelt, and utterly ridiculous in all the right ways' - Alex Dyson


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Shell

Shell

Kristina Olsson

$22.99
A big, bold and hauntingly beautiful story that captures a defining moment in Australia's history.

Everywhere he looked he saw what Utzon saw. The drama of harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept ...

In 1965 as Danish architect Jorn Utzon's striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart.

Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women's pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers and save them from the draft. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist from Sweden, is obsessed with creating a unique work that will do justice to Utzon's towering masterpiece.

In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, Shell captures a world on the brink of seismic change through the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm.

And reminds us why taking a side matters.

Praise for Shell `Kristina Olsson is such a graceful, wise and perceptive writer. The woman's massive heart is one big literary taproot feeding all of us answers about the Australian condition' Trent Dalton, bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe `A luminous look at a city at a time of change, a time when the building of the Sydney Opera House was a reach for greatness.' The New York Times `Olsson's writing is beautiful, captivating, and is enough in itself to recommend this book ... Her descriptions are vivid, evocative.' New York Journal of Books `A classic in the making.' Australian Financial Review `A shimmering love letter to Sydney, with the husk of the emerging Opera House its beating heart ... Required reading.' Australian Women's Weekly
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There Was Still Love

There Was Still Love

Favel Parrett

$29.99
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ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- Set between Prague and Melbourne in 1980, this achingly tender and deceptively simple novel tells of two children who never meet, but who are related through their formidable grandmothers. Ludek in Prague is curious, energetic, boastful and funny. His family don't have much, but then again, no-one in his neighbourhood does. There are often shortages but there's always something happening and his grandmother manages well enough. Mala Liska in Melbourne is quiet, observant, dutiful and imaginative. Her grandparents scrimp and save so they can occasionally go back to visit Prague; things are measured out and weighed up and carefully preserved but Mala always feels she has what she needs. As the novel switches back and forth, deep truths are revealed, about staying and going, sacrifices and resentments, family and the tales they tell to protect themselves - and always, of love. A truly beautiful, unforced and gentle novel - one of my favourites this year!  Lindy Jones

----

Prague, 1938: Eva flies down the street from her sister. Suddenly a man steps out, a man wearing a hat. Eva runs into him, hits the pavement hard. His hat is in the gutter. His anger slaps Eva, but his hate will change everything, as war forces so many lives into small, brown suitcases.

Prague, 1980: No one sees Ludek. A young boy can slip right under the heavy blanket that covers this city - the fear cannot touch him. Ludek is free. And he sees everything. The world can do what it likes. The world can go to hell for all he cares because Babi is waiting for him in the warm flat. His whole world.

Melbourne, 1980: Mala Li ka's grandma holds her hand as they climb the stairs to their third floor flat. Inside, the smell of warm pipe tobacco and homemade cakes. Here, Mana and Bill have made a life for themselves and their granddaughter. A life imbued with the spirit of Prague and the loved ones left behind.

Favel Parrett's deep emotional insight and stellar literary talent shine through in this love letter to the strong women who bind families together, despite dislocation and distance. It is a tender and beautifully told story of memory, family and love. Because there is still love. No matter what.


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Maybe the Horse Will Talk

Maybe the Horse Will Talk

Elliot Perlman

$32.99
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'I am absolutely terrified of losing a job I absolutely hate.' Stephen Maserov has problems. A onetime teacher, married to fellow teacher Eleanor, he has retrained and is now a second-year lawyer working at mega-firm Freely Savage Carter Blanche. Despite toiling around the clock to make budget, he's in imminent danger of being downsized. And to make things worse, Eleanor, sick of single-parenting their two young children thanks to Stephen's relentless work schedule, has asked him to move out.

To keep the job he hates, pay the mortgage and salvage his marriage, he will have to do something strikingly daring, something he never thought himself capable of. But if he's not careful, it might be the last job he ever has...

Warm, dramatic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, with the narrative pull of a thriller, Maybe the Horse Will Talk is a love story, a reflection on contemporary marriage, and on friendship. It is also an unflinching examination of sexual harassment in the workplace and an expose of corporate corruption that taps directly into the pulse of our times.

'Australia's outstanding social novelist' (Times Literary Supplement), Elliot Perlman '...has many things working in his favor as a novelist- curiosity, erudition, daring and a gift for seducing readers into going along with him for the ride. He'll get you where you want to go...' (Washington Post)


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The Model Wife

The Model Wife

Tricia Stringer

$32.99
Even a good woman can be pushed too far...

From bestselling author Tricia Stringer, this beautifully realised multi-generational family story looks at what happens when real-life betrayals and struggling relationships clash with outdated ideas of what a woman should be.

Natalie King's life is full. Some might say too full. With her teaching job, a farm to run, three grown daughters who have not quite got a handle on things, a reserved husband and a demanding mother-in-law, most days she is too busy to think about whether she is happy. But her life has meaning, doesn't it? After all, she is the one person everyone depends upon.

But when an odd gift from her mother-in-law - an old book in the form of stern and outdated advice for young wives - surfaces again, it brings with it memories she thought she had buried deep. Has this insidious little book exerted some kind of hold over her? Could it be that in her attempts to be a loving wife and mother, she no longer knows who she is?

On a day when it seems everyone is taking her for granted, and as the ghost of a past betrayal rises, it becomes clear that even this good mother and model wife can be pushed too far ...
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