Lucky's cover

Shortlist year: 2021

Shortlist category: Fiction

Published by: Picador Australia an imprint of Pan Macmillan

'Lucky's' is a story of family.
A story about migration.
It is also about a man called Lucky.
His restaurant chain.
A fire that changed everything.
A New Yorker article which might save a career.
The mystery of a missing father.
An impostor who got the girl.
An unthinkable tragedy.
A roll of the dice. And a story of love—lost, sought and won again (at last).

Following a trail of cause and effect that spans decades, this unforgettable epic tells a story about lives bound together by the pursuit of love, family, and new beginnings.

About the author

Andrew Pippos

Andrew Pippos

Andrew Pippos spent part of his childhood getting underfoot in his family's Greek-Australian café. When he grew up, he worked in newspapers and taught in universities. 'Lucky's' is his first novel, and it packs in everything he knows about growing up in a noisy, complicated, loving family. He lives in Sydney, where he is a lecturer at the School of Communication, University of Technology Sydney.

Judges’ comments

A natural storyteller, Andrew Pippos is able to spin magic out of everyday events—mixing tragedy and comedy, and bringing to life characters who vacillate between exuberance and stoic rationalism, delusion and self-destructive acts. This debut novel celebrates a vanished Greek Australian cafe culture—the chrome soda fountain and the sizzling steak and eggs. And just as these cafes had two grills—one for the food Aussies liked, and another for Greek specialties which the family privately ate—'Lucky's' has two plots. In the first plot Lucky, a Greek American, is in Australia in 1945 as a US Army mess steward. He's a failed clarinettist. Posing as Benny Goodman, he performs in a Sydney hotel and meets his future wife, from a Greek Australian cafe family. Lucky makes and loses a motza, franchising a unique Greek Australian cafe chain. In the second plot Emily, a failing British journalist, has scored a commission for a New Yorker article about the mass shooting in the last of Lucky's cafes. Emily is only dimly aware of the back story, linking her father to Lucky. Weaving these two plots together took Pippos eight years and is a tour de force. 'Lucky's' is a potential classic.