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The winner of the inaugural Banjo Prize, Taking Tom Murray Home is a funny, moving, bittersweet Australian story of fires, families and the restorative power of community.
Bankrupt dairy farmer Tom Murray decides he'd rather sell off his herd and burn down his own house than hand them over to the bank. But something goes tragically wrong, and Tom dies in the blaze. His wife, Dawn, doesn't want him to have died for nothing and decides to hold a funeral procession for Tom as a protest, driving 350 kilometres from Yardley in country Victoria to bury him in Melbourne where he was born. To make a bigger impact she agrees with some neighbours to put his coffin on a horse and cart and take it slow - real slow.
But on the night of their departure, someone burns down the local bank. And as the motley funeral procession passes through Victoria, there are more mysterious arson attacks. Dawn has five days to get to Melbourne. Five days, five more towns, and a state ready to explode in flames ...
Told with a laconic, deadpan wit, Taking Tom Murray Home is a timely, thought-provoking, heart-warming, quintessentially Australian story like no other. It's a novel about grief, pain, anger and loss, yes, but it's also about hope - and how community, friends and love trump pain and anger, every time.
"With characters you'll love and who will make you simultaneously laugh and cry, Slee weaves a bittersweet, hilarious and touching story that is sure to find its place as an Australian classic." Better Reading
"An absolute ripper of a story... with a madcap cast of characters including farmers, hippies and lots of cops, with moments so funny I had to put the book down to laugh." Adelaide Advertiser
"It has all the elements of good storytelling, grounded in a clear-eyed understanding of how and why rural Australia is struggling in the 21st century." Sydney Morning Herald
The stunning new novel from the author of The Woolgrower's Companion, whom the Australian Women's Weekly described as 'a wonderful new voice in literary rural fiction'.
A scandalous secret. A deadly fire. An agonizing choice.
Australia 1948. As a young woman running Amiens, a sizeable sheep station in New South Wales, Kate Dowd knows she's expected to fail. And her grazier neighbour is doing his best to ensure she does, attacking her method of burning off to repel a bushfire.
But fire risk is just one of her problems. Kate cannot lose Amiens, or give in to her estranged husband Jack's demands to sell- the farm is her livelihood and the only protection she can offer her half-sister Pearl, as the Aborigines Welfare Board threatens to take her away.
Ostracised by the local community for even acknowledging Pearl, Kate cannot risk another scandal. Which means turning her back on her wartime lover, Luca Canali ...
Then Jack drops a bombshell. He wants a divorce. He'll protect what's left of Kate's reputation, and keep Luca out of it - but for an extortionate price.
Soon Kate is putting out fires on all fronts to save her farm, keep her family together and protect the man she loves. Then a catastrophic real fire threatens everything . . .
'This sweeping epic set in rural NSW is about love, family and testing our mettle - and it's compulsively readable. Just the thing for those lazy summer days' Marie Claire on The Woolgrower's Companion 'Joy Rhoades' Kate Dowd is Elizabeth-Bennet-meets-The-Drover's-Wife . . . an accomplished debut' Sydney Morning Herald
Elizabeth posts a 'room for rent' notice in Trevor's bookshop and is caught off-guard when Trevor answers the ad himself. She expected a young student not a middle-aged bookseller whose marriage has fallen apart. But Trevor is attracted to Elizabeth's house because of the empty shed in her backyard, the perfect space for him to revive the artistic career he abandoned years earlier. The face-blind, EH Holden-driving Elizabeth is a solitary and feisty book editor, and she accepts him, on probation...
Miles Franklin finalist Philip Salom has a gift for depicting the inner states of his characters with empathy and insight. In this poignant yet upbeat novel the past keeps returning in the most unexpected ways. Elizabeth is at the beck and call of her ageing mother, and the associated memories of her childhood in a Rajneesh community. Trevor's Polish father disappeared when Trevor was fifteen, and his mother died not knowing whether he was dead or alive. The authorities have declared him dead, but is he?
The Returns is a story about the eccentricities, failings and small triumphs that humans are capable of, a novel that pokes fun at literary and artistic pretensions, while celebrating the expansiveness of art, kindness and friendship.
'Philip Salom...dissects the vulnerabilities of the human condition (loneliness, fear of intimacy, powerlessness, guilt), the power of the past to haunt us, the fear of the future to mire us, and the redemptive effects of love and acceptance.' - Miles Franklin Award Judges on Waiting 'A tour de force of sustained affection and wit.' - Australian Book Review on Waiting
In a city locked in a kind of perpetual twilight, antiquarian bookseller Cameron Raybould accepts a very strange commission - the valuation of a rare codex.
Within its fragile pages Cameron makes a curious discovery. Although seemingly ancient, the codex tells of a modern mystery: an academic missing for eleven years. Stranger still, as finding the truth becomes ever more of an obsession, Cameron begins to notice frightening lapses in memory. As if, all around, words, images, even people are beginning to fade from sight. As if unravelling the riddle of this book may be unravelling the nature of reality itself. And something frightening and unknown is taking its place...
A noirish mystery, timely work of unbridled imagination from a startling new voice, Elizabeth Bryer.
PRAISE FOR FROM HERE ON, MONSTERS 'A novel that places the reader into the abyss of storytelling. this is more than a book of secrets, codes, geniuses, history and language. It is more than you could imagine.' Tara June Winch 'Traverses the chasm between truth and history, and challenges our faith in the liberatory potential of art. It's a modern Australian novel about modern Australia that, refreshingly, doesn't read at all like a modern Australian novel.' Shaun Prescott 'Elizabeth Bryer writes with compassion and generosity.' Tony Birch 'This strange and wonderful novel delights with its language games, but it also understands that such shenanigans are never just games. Words have an impact on how we understand reality. Words can damage humans of flesh and blood. In From Here On, Monsters, Bryer shows us how language is integral to our humanity.' Saturday Paper
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It's 1982 in Australia. The Man from Snowy River is a box office hit, Paul Hogan is on the TV, and Goanna are standing on sacred ground with Solid Rock.
In a seaside suburb, housewife Theresa takes up swimming. She wants to get fit; she also wants a few precious minutes to herself. So at sunrise each day she strikes out past the waves.
From the same beach, the widowed Marie swims. With her husband gone, bathing is the one constant in her new life.
After finding herself in a desperate situation, 25-year-old Leanne only has herself to rely on. She became a nurse to help others, even as she resists help herself.
Elaine has recently moved from England. Far from home and without her adult sons, her closest friend is a gin bottle.
In the waters of Shelly Bay, these four women find each other. They will survive bluebottle stings and heartbreak; they will laugh so hard they swallow water, and they will plunge their tears into the ocean's salt. They will find solace and companionship, and learn that love takes many forms.
Most of all, they will cherish their friendship, each and every day.
'Reading this book was like snuggling beneath a warm beach towel after a bracing dip in the ocean.' - JOANNA NELL Praise for Sophie Green's THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE FAIRVALE LADIES BOOK CLUB 'Tender, intimate, heartwarming, fulfilling and Australian as a lamb roast and full-bodied shiraz' The Australian Women's Weekly 'An absolute gem of a novel, with the most evocative sense of place . . . A treat for any book club' BETTER READING
A year after her husband Leo's death, widow Daisy invites her three adult children to join her for a holiday in beautiful Venice. It will be wonderful, her chicks under one roof again in their father's birthplace. But is it possible to recapture the past?
Marc's marriage is in jeopardy, but for his mother's sake, he convinces his wife to keep up appearances. Anna's trying to hide the truth about the dismal state of her London acting career; and Ellie, enjoying a gap year and uncertain about her future choices, wants to avoid family pressure to conform.
Despite the magic of Venice, family ties are tested to the limit, especially when a shocking secret from Leo's past is revealed. Now everything they value about love, family, commitment and trust must be re-examined.
How can one family holiday require so much courage? Will Daisy's sentimental journey make or break them?
From multi-award-winning author Barbara Hannay comes a moving and heartfelt family drama about difficult choices and finding happiness in the most unexpected places.
Anne and Joe have at long last found the sweet spot in their relationship - they have overcome conflict and difficulties and the challenges of growing towards old age together, and now appreciate each other's company, a great sex life, and are looking forward to what retirement brings. But inexplicably, Joe - a gifted architect - finds himself losing things, making miscalculations and blanking out parts of his day.
'Snake Island takes you to the limits of human emotion. A vivid, consuming dive into family loyalty, violence, and the hearts broken when the two collide.' Candice Fox, bestselling author of Crimson Lake Vernon and Penelope Moore never want to see their son Caleb again. Not after he hit his wife and ended up in gaol. A lifetime of careful parental love wiped out in a moment.
But when retired teacher Vernon hears that Caleb is being regularly visited and savagely bashed by a local criminal as the police stand by, he knows he has to act. What has his life been as a father if he turns his back on his son in his hour of desperate need? He realises with shame that he has failed Caleb. But no longer.
The father of the man bashing Caleb is head of a violent crime family. The town lives in fear of him but Vernon is determined to fix things in a civilised way, father to father. If he shows respect, he reasons, it will be reciprocated. But how wrong he is.
And what hell has he brought down on his family?
Reading like a morality tale Western but in a starkly beautiful Australian setting, Snake Island is a propulsive literary thriller written with great clarity and power. It will take you to the edge and keep you there long after the final page is turned.
'A rollicking tale of crime, corruption, and vengeance.' Mark Brandi, bestselling author of Wimmera 'Remarkable. Ben Hobson's characters are deeply flawed, deeply human and beautifully realised. Part Western, part Greek tragedy, part morality tale - yet wholly original.' Chris Hammer, bestselling author of Scrublands
A shipload of migrant workers flees the pandemic-stricken UK, seeking a fresh start in Australia. For nine-year-old Cleary the journey promises adventure, for former nurse Billie it's a chance to put a shameful mistake behind her, while struggling schoolteacher Tom hopes for a brighter future. But when a crew member is murdered and people start falling gravely ill, the Steadfast descends into chaos. Trapped on the ship, the trio must join forces to survive the journey and its aftermath.
The Trespassers is a beguiling novel that explores the consequences of greed, the experiences of migration and exile, and the way strangers can become the ones we hold dear.
Joanna Nell's life-affirming debut is a moving, funny, heartwarming tale of love and community in the spirit of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY and GRACE AND FRANKIE.
The life of 79-year-old pensioner PEGGY SMART is as beige as the decor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. Following a very minor traffic accident, things have turned frosty with her grown-up children and she is afraid they are trying to take away her independence.
The highlight of Peggy's day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim. She dreams of inviting the handsome widower - treasurer of the Residents' Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village - to an intimate dinner. But why would an educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties.
But a chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn't seen in five decades - the glamorous fashionista ANGIE VALENTINE - sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.
'Lively and whimsical ... with some serious points to make about ageing, love, community and friendship' Sydney Morning Herald 'This heartwarming story about growing old gracefully - and disgracefully ... is a funny, witty and thoroughly enjoyable read for all ages' Daily Telegraph 'I haven't been this entranced by a character since Eleanor (Oliphant, of course). This book is a joy - it's a celebration of age instead of an apology for it, and a reminder that life is always an adventure if you let it be. I loved this uniquely endearing book' KELLY RIMMER 'I loved it! I want to be Peggy when I'm older. With many laugh-out-loud moments, this book is sure to make you see getting old in a different light. A refreshing, funny, realistic and warm read' FIONA PALMER 'The perfect blend of funny and moving: had me laughing and crying in this ultimately uplifting story' NATASHA LESTER
A poignant novel of heartbreak, adoption and family secrets Emma, a nurse and busy mother of three, has always dreamed of having a sister.
Michelle, at 46, wonders if it's too late to fall in love and find her birth parents.
Sarah, career woman and perfectionist homemaker, struggles to keep up with the Joneses.
Bill, 72, feels left behind after the death of his adored wife.
Adam can't stop thinking about the father he never had.
These five very different people are all connected but separated by secrets from the past.
SISTERS AND BROTHERS will both break and warm your heart in a way that only bestselling Australian storyteller Fiona Palmer can.
'Her books are tear-jerkers and page-turners' Sydney Morning Herald 'Fiona Palmer just keeps getting better' RACHAEL JOHNS 'Heartbreak, love and sibling relationships' New Idea
'Tony Park is a master storyteller. I love his work.' DEON MEYERAfrica, 1906: A young Australian adventurer is condemned to death.
Sydney, the present: journalist Nick Eatwell has just lost his job, but his day is brightened when a fellow reporter, South African Susan Vidler, comes into his life looking for help with a story.
Susan is chasing information about Nick's great-great uncle, Cyril Blake, who fought in the Anglo-Boer War and later joined the struggle for independence across the border in the German colony of South West Africa, now Namibia.
A long-lost manuscript proves Nick's forebear was a somewhat reluctant hero. Soldier, deserter, cattle rustler and freedom fighter, Blake was helping the lost cause before the Kaiser's forces ordered his assassination.
In Germany, historian Anja Berghoff is researching the origins of the famed desert horses of Namibia. She's also interested in Blake and an Irish-German firebrand and spy, Claire Martin, with whom Cyril had an affair.
Nick and Anja head to Africa on the trail of a legend, but someone else is delving into the past, looking for clues to the secret location of a missing horde of gold that's worth killing for.
Spanning two centuries, Ghosts of the Past is based on a true story.PRAISE FOR TONY PARK
'Never disappoints as a storyteller' Daily Telegraph
'Park writes great action novels' Canberra Weekly
Don't worry about the housing bubble, she would say. Don't worry about the fact that you will never be able to afford a home. Worry about the day after. That's when they will all come, with their black shirts and bayonets, and then you will see the drowned bodies and slit necks. And I would stand there and say, But Mum, why are you telling me this when I'm ten years old.
Working as a writer hasn't granted Pano the financial success he once imagined, but lobbying against a mosque being built across the road from his home (and the occasional meth-fuelled orgy) helps to pass the time. He's also found himself a gig ghostwriting for a wealthy property developer. The pay cheque alone is enough for him to turn a blind eye to some dodgy dealings - at least for the time being.
In a world full of flashy consumerism and aspiration, can Pano really escape his lot in life? And does he really want to?
A novel of dark desires and moral gray areas, THE PILLARS is an extraordinary new novel from one of Australia's most exciting contemporary voices.
Praise for DOWN THE HUME:
'DOWN THE HUME [is] essential reading in these times of border protection ' - The Saturday Paper 'DOWN THE HUME's propulsive rhythm feels like entering a strong current. Its fast pace and escalating plot are typical of the noir genre, but it is also filled with unexpected and precise turns of phrase, which can shift quickly from the menial to the lyrical.' - The Guardian 'DOWN THE HUME should rightly take its place alongside the fiction of Christos Tsiolkas [and] Maxine Beneba Clarke... as work that reflects the reality and occasional ugliness of Australia's multiculturalism.' - Australian Book Review 'DOWN THE HUME is a robust study of ethnic, class and sexual identities in contemporary Australia.'- The Weekend Australian
A luminous and courageous story about the hopes and dreams we all have for our lives and relationships, and the often fraught and unexpected ways they may be realised.
Angela Savage draws us masterfully into the lives of Anna, an aid worker trying to settle back into life in Australia after more than a decade in Southeast Asia; Meg, Anna's sister, who holds out hope for a child despite seven fruitless years of IVF; Meg's husband Nate, and Mukda, a single mother in provincial Thailand who wants to do the right thing by her son and parents.
The women and their families' lives become intimately intertwined in the unsettling and extraordinary process of trying to bring a child into the world across borders of class, culture and nationality. Rich in characterisation and feeling, Mother of Pearl, and the timely issues it raises, will generate discussion amongst readers everywhere.
`This is a story of family and motherhood, and also a story of culture and exploitation that asks us to think through the costs of our insatiable desire in the West to have everything. What I find remarkable about this novel is how it refuses easy and lazy judgement, how it takes seriously questions of loss, longing, and our human need to connect with each other.' - Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap
Within the treacherous caves of Undara, a betrayal will test the bonds of friendship and family. A page-turning new eco-adventure for readers who love Di Morrissey.
When entomologist Emlyn Rees arrives at Hidden Valley she wants nothing more than to escape her marriage breakdown by burying herself in the research team's hunt for new species of insects in the depths of the dramatic Undara lava tubes. However, little does she suspect she will be the key to solving a mystery that's more than one hundred years old.
Travis Carlyle is initially resistant to letting some city folks tramp over his cattle station, but soon the researchers' findings and a growing friendship with Emlyn bring opportunities to turn around his struggling farm. With a broken marriage behind him and children to care for, Travis needs to plan for the future and this could be his family's best chance.
But when things start going wrong for the farm and around the dig site, Emlyn and Travis are at a loss to understand why. Are they cursed with bad luck, or is there a more sinister force at play? Are the tall tales of enigmatic stockman Bluey turning true? As the unseen saboteur grows bolder, Emlyn and Travis are caught in a race against time to save the station ... and their lives.
On a beach not far from the isolated settlement of Sydney in 1797, a fishing boat picks up three shipwreck survivors, distressed and terribly injured. They have walked hundreds of miles across a landscape whose features-and inhabitants-they have no way of comprehending. They have lost fourteen companions along the way. Their accounts of the ordeal are evasive.
It is Lieutenant Joshua Grayling's task to investigate the story. He comes to realise that those fourteen deaths were contrived by one calculating mind and, as the full horror of the men's journey emerges, he begins to wonder whether the ruthless killer poses a danger to his own family.