There’s nothing we love more at Angus & Robertson Bookworld than taking a chance on a fresh new author and cracking open their debut novel.
There is so much to love in our list of our favourite debuts of 2017 below (one of them was even nominated for the Man Booker prize!) - so to those who say that there are no new ideas in fiction, we say “Read the books on this list!”
There were a few minutes when I was alone with her in the autopsy room. I felt wild. Absent. Before I could stop myself I was leaning close to her, telling her everything. The words draining out of me as she lay there. Her long damp hair hanging off the back of the steel table. Glassy eyes fixed blindly on the ceiling. She was still so beautiful, even in death.
Our secrets circled madly around the bright white room that morning. Rocking back and forth on my heels as I stood next to her, I knew how far in I was again, how comprehensively her death could undo me. I looked at Rosalind Ryan properly for the last time before breathing deeply, readying myself, letting her pull me back into her world, and I sank down, further and further, until I was completely, utterly under.
A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before.
But that's not all Gemma's trying to hide. As the investigation digs deeper into the victim's past, other secrets threaten to come to light, secrets that were supposed to remain buried. The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths.
The Dark Lake is an addictive crime thriller, a mesmerising account of one woman's descent into deceit and madness, and a stunning debut that is already causing a stir around the world.
Sydney, 1938. After being hit by a car on Oxford Street, sixty-three-year-old Jean Ford lies in a coma in Sydney Hospital. Doctors talk across her body, nurses jab her in the arm with morphine, detectives arrive to take her fingerprints. She has £100 in her pocket, but no identification. Memories come back to her-a murder trial, a life in prison-but with each prick of the needle her memories begin to shift.
Wellington, 1885. Tally Ho doesn't need to go to school because she is going to be a fisherman or a cart driver or a butcher boy like Harry Crawford. Wellington is her town and she makes up the rules. Papà takes her fishing, Nonno teaches her how to jump fences on his horse Geronimo-life gallops on the way it should, until a brother, baby William, is born. 'Go and play with your sisters,' Papà says, but wearing dresses and sipping tea is not the life for Tally Ho. Taking the advice of her hero, Harry Crawford, she runs away.
Sydney, 1917. The burned body of a woman is discovered on the banks of the Lane Cove River. Was she a mad woman? A drunk who'd accidentally set herself on fire? Nobody knows, until-three years later-a tailor's apprentice tells police that his mother went missing that same weekend, and that his stepfather, Harry Crawford, is not who he seems to be. Who, then, is he?
Based on the true lives of Eugenia Falleni, Half Wild is Pip Smith's dazzling debut novel.'Pip Smith has always been an agent of change. With her powerful debut novel, Half Wild, she will surely change the way we read, write, think and talk about Australian fiction.' - Sam Twyford-Moore, host of The Rereaders podcast and former director of the Emerging Writers' Festival
Fresh and distinctive writing from an exciting new voice in fiction - Sally Rooney meets Sarah Perry, Elmet is an unforgettable novel about family, as well as a beautiful meditation on landscape.
Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. When they were younger, Daniel and Cathy had gone to school. But they were not like the other children then, and they were even less like them now. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn't true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.
Atmospheric and unsettling, Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family's precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.
The seven stories that make up Sour Heart examine the many ways that family and history can weigh us down, but also lift us up.
From the young woman coming to terms with her grandmother's role in the Cultural Revolution, to the daughter struggling to understand where her family ends and she begins, to the girl discovering the power of her body to inspire and destroy, these vibrant, raw and powerful stories illuminate the complex and messy inner lives of girls struggling to define themselves.
Fuelled by Jenny Zhang's singular voice and sly humour, Sour Heart introduces a bright new force in literary fiction.
'I will never forget the first time I read Jenny Zhang … [I was] stunned, moved and quite frankly a little jealous … This book takes Jenny's voice to a new level … I hope you love Sour Heart as much as I do' Lena Dunham
Even a lone wolf wants to belong....
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak', or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices, whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on.
So when the perfect family mother, father and their little boy, Paul move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit. She begins to babysit Paul and feels welcomes, that she finally has a place to belong.
But something isn't right. Drawn into secrets she doesn't understand, Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledge of the world understand what the consequences will be?
From age eighteen on, I had a partner, a kindred spirit. I had a friend. Someone bound and determined to keep me from the worst in myself.
At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon, ambitious but lacking confidence, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel, brash and wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over their love of classic cartoons, their dysfunctional working-class families, and above all their craft: drawing. Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.
A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, living and working in Brooklyn, and poised on the edge of even greater success after the release of their first full-length feature. But with this success comes self-doubt and cracks in their relationship start to form. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming. Funny and heartbreaking by turn, The Animators is a dazzling story of female friendship, the cost of a creative life, and the secrets that can undo us.
‘An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make ... I wish I’d written The Animators.’ — Emma Donoghue, author of Room and The Wonder
‘The Animators is a heartbreakingly beautiful, sharply funny, arrestingly unforgettable novel about love and genius, the powerful obsessiveness of artistic creation, and the equally powerful undertow of the past. Kayla Rae Whitaker writes like her head is on fire.’ — Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner Award–winning author of The Great Man
‘[An] outstanding debut … Whitaker skillfully charts the creative process, its lulls and sudden rushes of perfect inspiration. And in the relationship between Mel and Sharon, she has created something wonderful and exceptional: a rich, deep, and emotionally true connection that will certainly steal the hearts of readers.’ — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
He was still bleeding. I yelled, "Someone's killed Father." I breathed in kerosene air, licked the thickness from my teeth. The clock on the mantel ticked ticked. I looked at Father, the way hands clutched to thighs, the way the little gold ring on his pinky finger sat like a sun. I gave him that ring for his birthday when I no longer wanted it. "Daddy," I had said. "I'm giving this to you because I love you." He had smiled and kissed my forehead.
A long time ago now.
On 4 August 1892 Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. During the inquest into the deaths, Lizzie Borden was arrested and charged with the murder of her father and her stepmother.
Through the eyes of Lizzie's sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, the enigmatic stranger Benjamin and the beguiling Lizzie herself, we return to what happened that day in Fall River.
Lizzie Borden took an axe. Or did she?
'Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away.' - Paula Hawkins, Bestselling Author of The Girl on the Train
'Haunting, evocative and psychologically taut, See What I Have Done breathes fresh life into the infamous 19th-century murder case surrounding Lizzie Borden. This is a powerful, beautifully researched debut novel that brings us into contact with the recurring American dramas of violence and retribution while summoning the beguiling voices of the past.' - Dominic Smith, author of the New York Times bestseller The Last Painting Of Sara De Vos