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Tall Poppies

2017 presented us with an exciting bumper bloom of great Australian literature, and we are looking forward to enjoying these books all through summer.

We absolutely love these books.

Carey's A Long Way From Home is full of verve and vernacular, and is reminiscent of his much-loved Illywhacker. Michelle De Kretser's The Life to Come has been adored by all, with its exquisite prose and insightful examination of internal psyche, and is sure to eclipse her wondrous book Questions of Travel.

Chris Womersley brings his best work yet with City of Crows, a gritty tale of fate and trust in plague-ridden Paris that is almost cinematic in description, yet full of heart. Sofie Laguna's Choke is a stunning portrayal of rural hardship, tension and love.

Richard Flanagan's First Person tells of a ghost-writer whose biographical subject becomes rather unwieldy, and Alex Miller's most autobiographical work, The Passage of Love, shows the author striving to define his very life and cultural contribution.

These works are profoundly beautiful, and will touch you deeply.

Enjoy these tall poppies over the warmer months - they are sure to bring colour into your reading life.

Pub: 01/10/2017
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The dazzling new novel from Michelle de Kretser, author of Questions of Travel, bestseller and winner of the Miles Franklin Award.

Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerising novel about the stories we tell and don't tell ourselves as individuals, as societies and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary.

Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people. Profoundly moving as well as wickedly funny,

The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present. This extraordinary novel by Miles Franklin-winning author Michelle de Kretser will strike to your soul.


 

Pub: 30/10/2017
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Australia’s master novelist takes us on the race of a lifetime.

Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive.

With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher whose job it is to call out the turns, the grids, the creek crossings on a map that will finally remove them, without warning, from the lily-white Australia they know so well.

This thrilling, high-speed story starts in one way and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, the more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner, even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture – the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.


 

A Sea-Chase

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Pub: 30/10/2017
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At sea can be a beautiful and ferocious place to find yourself alone and together.

Growing up in inland Australia, Judy, a young teacher, has rarely seen the sea.

But when she flees a rioting classroom one dismal Friday, a dud and a failure, she gets drunk and wakes up on a boat. Overnight her life changes; she is in love with being on the water and in love with Wes Bannister who lives on the boat. Sailing was not something Judy had ever thought about wanting, but now she craved it. Wind was the best teacher she’d had, by far…

From then on, Judy believes that the one trusted continuation of herself is with Wes, and always will be, but then events at sea challenge their closeness. Must they become competitors against each other in the push to be equals? It seems they must.


 

Pub: 25/10/2017
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Critically acclaimed, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin award, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize and numerous other literary awards, Miller's new work is an exquisitely personal novel of love and creativity.

Sitting in a New York park, an old man holds a book and tries to accept that his contribution to the future is over. Instead, he remembers a youthful yearning for open horizons, for Australia, a yearning he now knows inspired his life as a writer. Instinctively he picks up his pen and starts at the beginning... At twenty-one years, Robert Crofts leaves his broken dreams in Far North Queensland, finally stopping in Melbourne almost destitute. It's there he begins to understand how books and writing might be the saving of him.

They will be how he leaves his mark on the world. He also begins to understand how many obstacles there will be to thwart his ambition. When Robert is introduced to Lena Soren, beautiful, rich and educated, his life takes a very different path.

But in the intimacy of their connection lies an unknowability that both torments and tantalises as Robert and Lena long for something that neither can provide for the other.


 

The Choke

 
(3)
Pub: 23/08/2017
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The Choke is a mesmerising, harrowing and ultimately uplifting novel from the 2015 Miles Franklin winner.

Winner of the 2018 Indie Book Award for Fiction! I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers. Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her pop, a man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop's chooks and The Choke, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow it seems they might touch - a place of staggering natural beauty.

But the river can't protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal. Justine is overlooked and underestimated, a shy and often silent observer of her chaotic world. She learns that she has to make sense of it on her own.

She has to find ways to survive so much neglect. She must hang on to friendship when it comes, she must hide when she has to, and ultimately she must fight back.


 

First Person

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Pub: 02/07/2018
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What is the truth?

In this blistering story of a ghost writer haunted by his demonic subject, the Man Booker Prize winner turns to lies, crime and literature with devastating effect. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of millions, con man and corporate criminal Siegfried Heidl offers broke writer Kif Kehlmann a deal he can’t refuse: $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghost write his memoir in six weeks.

As the deadline draws closer and Heidl grows increasingly erratic, Kehlmann becomes unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir or if Heidl is rewriting him – his life, his future. As tension slowly mounts, boundaries and identities blur, everything that was certain grows uncertain, and the young writer finds himself no longer sure if he is Kif Kehlmann – or a murderous criminal.


 

City of Crows

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Pub: 31/07/2018
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France, 1673. Desperate to save herself and her only surviving child from an outbreak of plague, the widow Charlotte Picot flees her village to seek sanctuary in Lyon.

But, waylaid on the road by slavers, young Nicolas is stolen and his mother left for dead. Charlotte fears the boy has been taken to Paris for sale, for it is well known there is no corruption in a man's heart that cannot be found in that terrible City of Crows. Yet this is not only a story of Paris and its streets thronged with preachers, troubadours and rogues.

It is also the tale of a woman who calls herself a sorceress and a demon who thinks he is a man...


 


 

Pub: 06/08/2018
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The last of the Glenroy novels.

'Why do some nights feel as though they were always waiting to happen? Or have already happened and will again? And why don't we know it then? Why is it only afterwards we say, yes, that was when my life turned?' 1965. The great poet, TS Eliot, is dead. Hearing the news, the seventy-two year old Emily Hale points her Ford Roadster towards the port of Gloucester, where a fishing boat will take her out to sea, near the low, treacherous rocks called the Dry Salvages, just off Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

Over the course of that day, clutching a satchel of letters, Emily Hale slips between past and present, reliving her life with Eliot - starting with that night in 1913, the moment when her life turned, when the young Tom Eliot and Emily Hale fell deeply in love with each other.

But Tom moved to London to fulfil his destiny as the famous poet 'TS Eliot', and Emily went on to become his muse - the silent figure behind some of the greatest poetry of the 20th century - his friend and his confidante. But never did she become his lover or his wife.


 

Pub: 01/11/2017
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In this haunting new novel, Katerina Klova and her mother are crossing the Atlantic by ocean liner. When Anne suffers a psychotic breakdown, Katerina is left alone on a ship full of strangers who span classes and stations, all of whom carry their ambitions, fears and obsessions with them. For a seventeen-year-old girl, the daughter of an ambassador, it’s an exciting, frightening world to navigate. Atlantic Black is a psychologically intense and affecting story of unexpected familial betrayal, of a mother and daughter's relationship, of a brother and father whose voices resonate from afar. Personal loneliness, love and loss, are tightly bound to the wider reality of a world set on a fateful course. The legacy of violence, and of how the First World War precipitated the Second World War reverberates as if ‘tolling on the inside of a church bell’. Through the eyes of Katerina and her own family’s place within a fracturing world, we see the way damage, yet also hope, are passed from one generation to another. A.S. Patrić's writing is achingly tender, the tone merciless but heartbreaking in its compassion.


 

Common People

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Pub: 31/07/2017
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From the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award-winning author of Ghost River.

In this unforgettable new collection, Tony Birch introduces a cast of characters from all walks of life. These remarkable and surprising stories capture common people caught up in the everyday business of living and the struggle to survive. From two single mothers on the most unlikely night shift to a homeless man unexpectedly faced with the miracle of a new life, Birch’s stories are set in gritty urban refuges and battling regional communities.

His deftly drawn characters find unexpected signs of hope in a world where beauty can be found on every street corner a message on a T-shirt, a friend in a stray dog or a star in the night sky. Common People shines a light on human nature and how the ordinary kindness of strangers can have extraordinary results.

With characteristic insight and restraint, Tony Birch reinforces his reputation as a master storyteller.


 

Whipbird

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Pub: 30/07/2018
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No holds are barred as the Cleary family attempts to put long-held tensions behind them to celebrate a milestone. What could possibly go wrong?

Kungadgee, Victoria, Australia. A weekend in late November, 2014. At Hugh and Christine Cleary’s new vineyard, Whipbird, six generations of the Cleary family are coming together from far and wide to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestor Conor Cleary from Ireland. Hugh has been meticulously planning the event for months – a chance to proudly showcase Whipbird to the extended clan.

Some of these family members know each other; some don’t. As the wine flows, it promises to be an eventful couple of days.

Comic, topical, honest, sharply intelligent, and, above all, sympathetic, Robert Drewe’s exhilarating new novel tells a classic Australian family saga as it has never been told before.


 

Pub: 01/11/2017
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A new work by a master of contemporary Australian fiction, highly regarded overseas, but little-known here.

Giramondo's publication of Border Districts, and the retrospective volume Collected Short Fiction (early next year) is a collaboration with the distinguished New York publisher Farrar Straus Giroux. Conceived as Gerald Murnane's last work of fiction, Border Districts was written after the author moved from Melbourne to a small town on the western edge of the Wimmera plains, near the border with South Australia.

The narrator of this fiction has made a similar move, from a capital city to a remote town in the border country, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. It is a time for exploring the enduring elements of his experience, as these exist in his mind, images whose persistence is assured, but whose significance needs to be rediscovered.

Notable Australian Literature of 2017

There simply isn't enough room to showcase all of the stand-out literary works this year, and it’s clear that our country is overflowing with literary talent.

Here's a hand-picked bunch of some of the more thoughtful and captivating books we’ve enjoyed so far. It's a rich and varied bouquet too: Dennis Glover imagines George Orwell's life as fiction in The Last Man in Europe and Cass Moriarty explores family trauma in Parting Words. Luke Slattery places Elizabeth and Lachlan Macquarie in a beautifully wrought love triangle with architect Francis Greenway in Mrs M, and Jess Blackadder finds that the certainty of family life can change abruptly in Sixty Seconds.

These are remarkable creations, and they are sure to reward your reading time well.

Astonishing Australian Debuts of 2017

Dazzling debuts are arriving thick and fast this year, all of them strong new voices with vivid narratives that are accomplished with style. We highly recommend the new crowd to you. Many are shortlisted for prizes or winning awards already, like Wimmera by Mark Brandi, The Lost Pages by Marija Pericic, and Dancing Home by Paul Collis. Collis also joins Claire G.Coleman (Terra Nullius) in the new wave of indigenous authors writing passionately about their country.

You'll be glad you got on to these authors early, as these stars are on the rise!

The Miles Franklin Award Winner and Shortlist 2017

None of these novels draws on familiar tropes of Australian literature, yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience. (They) explore the restorative power of love, the pernicious influence of the past on the present, the tragedy of the present avoiding the past, the challenge of unconventional identities, the interweaving of lives across communities, the devastation of grief, and the war zone that is the media, masculinity and a small country town.” 

-State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian Richard Nev­ille said on behalf of the judges, The Australian

The Miles Franklin Award 2017 went to Josephine Wilson for her splendid novel, "Extinctions".

 

Garlands Of Greats