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Nest

Nest 3

by Inga Simpson

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 29/07/2014

4/5 Rating 3 Reviews
RRP  $27.99 $26.75

Longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2015 and for The Stella Prize 2015

Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons. When a girl in Henry's class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past. When she was Henry's age she lost her father and her best friend Michael - both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly forty years later, they're talking about it again. Everyone is waiting - for the girl to be found and the summer rain to arrive. At last, when the answers do come, like the wet, it is in a drenching, revitalising downpour...

ISBN:
9780733632341
9780733632341
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
29-07-2014
Publisher:
Hachette Australia
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
304
Dimensions (mm):
211x142x25mm
Weight:
0.33kg
Inga Simpson

Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program and, as a result, Hachette Australia published her first novel, Mr Wigg, in 2013.

Nest, Inga's second novel, was published in 2014, before being longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize, and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Inga's third novel, the acclaimed Where the Trees Were, was published in 2016.

Inga won the final Eric Rolls Prize for her nature writing and recently completed a second PhD, exploring the history of Australian nature writers. Inga's memoir about her love of Australian nature and life with trees, Understory, will be published in June 2017.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Great Read

    by on

    Realistic and engaging.

  • A superb read.

    by on

    Nest is the second novel by Australian author, Inga Simpson. In retreat from a fractured relationship, and the loss of her mother, Jen Vogel returns to the Queensland coastal hinterland town of her childhood. Once an artist and teacher, she now tries to live in harmony with her environment, on the edge of the forest, surrounded by her beloved birds, her inspiration: “Sometimes pencil on paper was a magical thing – and birds flew out. Other times they were just marks, her hand an inadequate tool.” Weekly visits by young Henry Green for an art lesson punctuate her solitary existence and deliver regular contact with the outside world. When a classmate of Henry’s goes missing, the talk in town immediately recalls her father’s mysterious desertion some 40 years earlier, following shortly after the disappearance of Jen’s close friend, Michael. As Jen is forced to remember the events of that fateful year, interactions with certain townspeople and her elderly aunt gradually reveal a shocking truth.
    Simpson gives the reader a wonderful central character. Jen is complex and multi-dimensional, and her thoughts and feelings are beautifully conveyed. Jen’s interaction with Henry is charming and uplifting. Her sweet memories of her father are tempered by the injury of his departure. Jen is a character that readers would be pleased to follow further.
    Simpson’s plot contains enough intrigue to keep the pages turning and touches on both topical and age-old themes: the effect of missing persons on those left behind; the stigma attached to the deserted woman; the cause and effect of climate change; the power of religious cults; and the damage wreaked by introduced species. Her extensive research on both bird and plant species is apparent in every paragraph, her love of nature stands out and there are also some interesting tidbits on chainsaws, drawing, forests and weeds.
    Simpson’s novel is filled with so much beautiful prose, it is difficult to pick just a few quotes to illustrate this: “The kookaburras began their telegraph chorus, passing their gossip and joy along the line until Jen could no longer hear it” is just one to whet the prospective reader’s appetite.
    Simpson’s skill with words echoes that of Jen’s with her pencils or brushes: the reader almost hears the sounds of the wet sclerophyll forest, smells the forest’s fragrance, feels the dampness, or the drought. Her descriptions of bathing birds will make the reader want a bird bath outside their own kitchen window; her descriptions of Jen’s artwork will make the reader want to see it for themselves.
    Emma Kelly has enhanced the wonderful text with a beautifully evocative cover illustration. Fans of Mr Wigg will not be disappointed with Nest, and will look forward to more from this talented author. A superb read.

  • Quiet and reflective

    by on

    After a relationship breakdown and the death of her mother, artist Jen Vogel has taken refuge in her childhood hometown. Here she is content to sketch and paint the birds that visit her garden, care for the land that embraces her property and tutor a talented local teen to supplement her income, but unpleasant memories are revived when a young girl goes missing on her way home from school. Nearly four decades earlier, Jen's best friend Michael, and then her father, disappeared without a trace within days of each other and still there are no answers to what became of them.

    Nest is a gentle book, sharing the quiet rhythms of Jen's days and the turbulent memories of her past. It explores the themes of loss, grief, healing and growth, a cycle echoed in the environment in which Jen lives.

    The mystery of the missing children, and Jen's father's whereabouts, adds interest and a frisson of tension to what is otherwise a fairly introspective narrative.

    The language is evocative, with vivid observations of the flora and fauna that surrounds Jen's bush haven. Jen has a particular fascination with birds, with robins being her favourite.

    "The robins arrived last, splashing and fluffing, sending the other birds off. Their golden yellow was luminous at dusk, as if carrying the last gleams of the sun. Only now did they sing, with their sweet, piping whistle, and first thing in the morning. Their song was best suited to dusk and dawn - the in-between."

    Nest is a self possessed, thoughtful novel from Inga Simpson, author of Mr Wigg.