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Maya de Jong, an eighteen-year-old country girl from the West, comes to live in Melbourne and starts an affair with her boss, the enigmatic Maynard Flynn, whose wife is dying of cancer.
When Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, arrive to stay with her, they are told by her housemate that Maya has gone away and no one knows where she is. As Toni and Jacob wait and search for Maya in Melbourne, everything in their lives is brought into question.
They recall the yearning and dreams, the betrayals and choices of their pasts - choices with unexpected and irrevocable consequences. With Maya's disappearance, the lives of all those close to her come into focus, to reveal the complexity of the ties that bind us to one another, to parents, children, siblings, friends and lovers.
Pacy and enthralling, The Good Parents is at once a vision of contemporary Australia and a story as old as fairy tales: that of a runaway girl.
About the author
Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age.
Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction and was long listed for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in 2008 and won the Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim.
From the winner of the Man Booker Prize comes the bestselling, universally lauded novel of desire and its denial from acclaimed writer Richard Flanagan.
It is 1839. A young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is running through the long wet grass of an island at the end of the world to get help for her dying father, an Aboriginal chieftain. Twenty years later, on an island at the centre of the world, the most famous novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, realises he is about to abandon his wife, risk his name and forever after be altered because of his inability any longer to control his intense passion.
Connecting the two events are the most celebrated explorer of the age, Sir John Franklin – then governor of Van Diemen's Land – and his wife, Lady Jane, who adopt Mathinna, seen as one of the last of a dying race, as an experiment. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilisation is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, Sir John disappears into the blue ice of the Arctic seeking the Northwest Passage, and a decade later Lady Jane enlists Dickens's aid to put an end to the scandalous suggestions that Sir John's expedition ended in cannibalism.
Dickens becomes ever more entranced in the story of men entombed in ice, recognising in its terrible image his own frozen inner life. He produces and stars in a play inspired by Franklin's fate to give story to his central belief that discipline and will can conquer desire. And yet the play will bring him to the point where he is no longer able to control his own passion and the consequences it brings.
Inspired by historical events, Wanting is a novel about art, love, and the way in which life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.
About the author
Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His six novels are published in forty-two countries and have received numerous honours, including the 2014 Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Murray Bail’s The Pages is a beguiling meditation on friendship and love, on men and women, on landscape and the difficulties of thought itself, by one of Australia’s greatest novelists, the author of the much-loved Eucalyptus.
About the author
Murray Bail was born in Adelaide in 1941. He has won numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award for Eucalyptus. His novel, The Pages, was published in 2008 to great acclaim.
The Boat takes us from a tourist in Tehran to a teenage hit man in Colombia; from an aging New York artist to a boy coming of age in a small Victorian fishing town; from the city of Hiroshima just before the bomb is dropped to the haunting waste of the South China Sea in the wake of another war. Each story uncovers a raw human truth. Each story is as absorbing and fully realised as a novel. Together, they make up a collection of astonishing diversity and achievement.
About the author
Nam Le’s first book, The Boat, received the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize (Best Writing Award) the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award among other honours. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Editor’s Choice, the best debut of 2008 by the Australian Book Review and New York Magazine, and a book of the year by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Monthly, and numerous sources around the world.
The Boat has been translated into thirteen languages and its stories widely anthologised.
Nam Le's collection of fiction, The Boat, which comprises short and long stories, artfully arrayed, is one of the most impressive debuts of recent years.
The range of subjects and settings astonishes, as does the assurance and control with which the author immerses us in the stories that he makes from them.
While the span of the fiction is cosmopolitan, each story is intensely attuned to the local circumstances that deform and enable the lives of these varied characters, animated as they are by love and despair.
As shown especially in the final and title story, Nam Le combines almost reckless artistic boldness with highly disciplined craft.
Renowned book conservator Hannah Heath makes her way to Bosnia to work on restoring a Jewish prayer book recovered from the smouldering ruins of war-torn Sarajevo – to discover its secrets and piece together the story of its miraculous survival. But the trip will also set in motion a series of events that threaten to rock Hannah’s orderly life, including her encounter with Ozren Karamen, the young librarian who risked his life to save the book.
As meticulously researched as all of Brooks’s previous work, ‘People of the Book’ is a gripping and moving novel about war, art, love and survival.
About the author
Geraldine Brooks is the author of three novels, the Pulitzer Prize-winning March and the international bestsellers People of the Book and Year of Wonders. She has also written the acclaimed non fiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.
Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, Tony Horwitz, and their two sons.
Physical and mental, sexual and literary, constructive and destructive. Coming of age in a small town peopled with big characters, fourteen-year-old Robbie Burns finds his new teacher Miss Peach the most unforgettable of all – his memories of her will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Everything I Knew challenges our determination to believe in the innocence of childhood and adolescence, and yet again shows Peter Goldsworthy to be a master of shifting tone. There is no novel quite like it in Australian literature.
About the author
Peter Goldsworthy studied medicine at the University of Adelaide and worked for several years in alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Since then he has divided his time between general practice and writing.
He has won major literary awards, across many genres: poetry, short story, novels, theatre, and opera libretti. Goldsworthy’s novels have sold over 400,000 copies in Australia, and have been translated into many languages.
His first novel, Maestro, was voted by members of the Australian Society of Authors as one of the Top 40 Australian books of all time. Five of his novels have been adapted for stage and screen.
A child is imprisoned in a house by her reclusive religious parents. Hester has never seen the outside world; her companions are Cat, Spoon, Door, Handle, Broom, and they all speak to her. Her imagination is informed by one book, an illustrated child's bible, and its imagery forms the sole basis for her capacity to make poetic connection.
One day Hester takes a brave Alice in Wonderland trip into the forbidden outside (at the behest of Handle - 'turn me turn me'), and this overwhelming encounter with light and sky and sunshine is a marvel to her. From this moment on, Hester learns the concept of the secret, and not telling, and the world becomes something that fills her with feeling as if she is a vessel, empty and bottomless for need of it.
About the author
Sofie Laguna’s second novel for adults, The Eye of the Sheep—shortlisted for the Stella Prize—won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
Sofie’s many books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia. She has been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Award, and her books have been named Honour Books and Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
Sofie lives in Melbourne with her husband, illustrator Marc McBride, and their two young sons.
A superb book about Don Watson's journeys around America. Featured as one of Newsweek’s 50 ‘What to Read Now and Why’ titles.
Only in America – the most powerful democracy on earth, home to the best and worst of everything – are the most extreme contradictions possible. In a series of journeys acclaimed author Don Watson set out to explore the nation that has influenced him more than any other.
Travelling by rail gave Watson a unique and seductive means of peering into the United States, a way to experience life with its citizens: long days with the American landscape and American towns and American history unfolding on the outside, while inside a tiny particle of the American people talked among themselves.
Watson's experiences are profoundly affecting: he witnesses the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast; explores the savage history of the Deep South, the heartland of the Civil War; and journeys to the remarkable wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Yet it is through the people he meets that Watson discovers the incomparable genius of America, its optimism, sophistication and riches – and also its darker side, its disavowal of failure and uncertainty.
Beautifully written, with gentle power and sly humour, American Journeys investigates the meaning of the United States: its confidence, its religion, its heroes, its violence, and its material obsessions. The things that make America great are also its greatest flaws.
About the author
Don Watson's Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year.
His Quarterly Essay, Rabbit Syndrome: Australia and America won the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize. Death Sentence, his best-selling book about the decay of public language won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year. Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words was also a bestseller.
American Journeys won the Age Non-Fiction and Book of the Year Awards. It also won the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction.
Almost half of the convicts who came to Australia came to Van Diemen’s Land. There they found a land of bounty and a penal society, a kangaroo economy and a new way of life.
In this book, James Boyce shows how the convicts were changed by the natural world they encountered. Escaping authority, they soon settled away from the towns, dressing in kangaroo skin and living off the land. Behind the official attempt to create a Little England was another story of adaptation, in which the poor, the exiled and the criminal made a new home in a strange land.
This is their story, the story of Van Diemen’s Land.
About the author
James Boyce is the author of Born Bad (2014), 1835 (2011) and Van Diemen's Land (2008).
Van Diemen’s Land, won the Tasmania Book Prize and the Colin Roderick Award and was shortlisted for the NSW, Victorian and Queensland premiers’ literary awards, as well as the Prime Minister’s award. Tim Flannery described it as “a brilliant book and a must-read for anyone interested in how land shapes people.”
1835, won the Age Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Western Australian Premier's Book Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award. The Sunday Age described it as “A first-class piece of historical writing”. James Boyce wrote the Tasmania chapter for First Australians, the companion book to the acclaimed SBS TV series.
He has a PhD from the University of Tasmania, where he is an honorary research associate of the School of Geography and Environmental Studies.
Elizabeth Jolley was a fine writer. Her publishing career began in her fifties in Australia, but as Brian Dibble demonstrates her writing developed through the decades in England and Scotland, from her family of origin, in boarding schools and hospital wards, and into her independent adult life.
The array of wild characters in her fiction—misfits and those on the edge of society—can also be found in the remarkable life of Elizabeth Jolley.
This is a lyrical and readable biography, one that presents a world of family and pleasures, but always infused somewhere with an unexpended sadness.
About the author
Brian Dibble, who in 1972 founded what is now Communication and Cultural Studies at Curtin University, is Curtin’s Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature. He has published articles on Elizabeth Jolley’s work and written/edited a dozen books, including his own poetry and prose and two edited volumes of William Hart-Smith’s poetry.
On Thursday 22 May 2008, Bill Henson, one of Australia’s most significant artists, was preparing his new Sydney exhibition. It featured photographs of naked adolescent models. That afternoon, triggered by a newspaper column and the outrage of talkback radio hosts, a controversy exploded in response to these images.
David Marr, one of Australia’s leading journalists, tells the story of this dramatic public trial.
The Henson Case is a remarkable investigative essay which draws on Marr’s extensive interviews with Bill Henson and features eight photographs from the Sydney show.
About the author
David Marr is one of Australia’s most respected journalists. He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Bulletin, won a Walkley for his reportage on ‘Four Corners’ and presented ‘Media Watch’ on ABC TV.
He is the award-winning author of several books, including Patrick White: a Life and His Master’s Voice: The Corruption of Public Debate Under Howard, and he co-authored Dark Victory with Marian Wilkinson.
Acclaimed biographer Jenny Hocking's Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History is the first contemporary and definitive biographical study of the former Labor Prime Minister. From his childhood in the fledging city of Canberra to his first appearance as Prime Minister to his extensive war service in the Pacific and marriage to Margaret, the champion swimmer and daughter of Justice Wilfred Dovey, the biography draws on previously unseen archival material, extensive interviews with family and colleagues, and exclusive interviews with Gough Whitlam himself.
Hocking’s narrative skill and scrupulous research reveals an extraordinary and complex man, whose life is, in every way, formed by the remarkable events of previous generations of his family, and who would, in turn, change Australian political and cultural developments in the twentieth century.
About the author
Jenny Hocking is Head of the School of Journalism, Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University. She is the author of two major political biographies, Lionel Murphy: A Political Biography, shortlisted in the South Australian Festival Awards for Literature: National Non-Fiction Awards, and Frank Hardy: Politics Literature Life, shortlisted in the NSW Premier's History Awards.
Jenny has also written extensively on counter-terrorism and democracy, most recently in Terror Laws: ASIO, Counter-terrorism and the Threat to Democracy.
At last a history of Australia in its dynamic global context. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in response to the mobilisation and mobility of colonial and coloured peoples around the world, self-styled 'white men's countries' in South Africa, North America and Australasia worked in solidarity to exclude those peoples they defined as not-white--including Africans, Chinese, Indians, Japanese and Pacific Islanders. Their policies provoked in turn a long international struggle for racial equality.
Leading Australian historians Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds tell a gripping story about the circulation of emotions and ideas, books and people in which Australia emerged as a pace-setter in the modern global politics of whiteness. Remarkable for the breadth of its research and its engaging narrative, Drawing the Global Colour Line offers a new perspective on the history of human rights and provides compelling and original insight into the international political movements that shaped the twentieth century.
About the authors
Marilyn Lake holds a Personal Chair in the School of Historical and European Studies at LaTrobe University, Melbourne.
Her publications include Getting Equal: The History of Australian Feminism (1999), Faith: Faith Bandler, Gentle Activist (2002) and, as co-editor, Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective (with Ann Curthoys, 2006).
Henry Reynolds holds a Personal Chair in History and Aboriginal Studies at the University of Tasmania.
His previous publications include The Other Side of the Frontier (1981), Why Weren't We Told? (2000) and The Law of the Land (2003).
The story of a death, a policeman, an island and a country. The Tall Man is the story of Palm Island, the tropical paradise where one morning Cameron Doomadgee swore at a policeman and forty minutes later lay dead in a watch-house cell.
It is the story of that policeman, the tall, enigmatic Christopher Hurley who chose to work in some of the toughest and wildest places in Australia, and of the struggle to bring him to trial. Above all, it is a story in luminous detail of two worlds clashing – and a haunting moral puzzle that no reader will forget.
About the author
Chloe Hooper's first novel, A Child's Book of True Crime, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book.
The Tall Man, her non-fiction account of the death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee, won many literary awards.
In 1933 the author and activist Heinrich Mann and his partner Nelly Kroeger fled Nazi Germany, finding refuge first in the south of France and later, in great despair, in Los Angeles, where Nelly committed suicide in 1944 and Heinrich died in 1950.
Born into a wealthy middle class family in Lübeck, Heinrich was one of the leading representatives of Weimar culture; Nelly was twenty seven years younger, the adopted daughter of a fisherman, and a hostess in a Berlin bar. As far as his family was concerned, she was from the wrong side of the tracks.
Their story is crossed by others from their circle, including Heinrich's brother Thomas Mann, his sister Carla, their friends Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, and Joseph Roth,and beyond them, the writers Egon Kisch, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Virginia Woolf and Nettie Palmer.
In train compartments, ship's cabins and rented rooms, they called upon what was left to them — their bodies, their minds, their books — and amidst the debris of an era of self-destruction, built their own annexes to the House of Exile.
About the author
Evelyn Juers has lived in Hamburg, Sydney, London and Geneva. She has a PhD from the University of Essex on the Brontës and the practice of biography.
Her essays on art and literature have appeared in a wide range of Australian and international publications.
An exemplar of the new 'group biography', Juers follows Heinrich, brother of one of the greatest twentieth century writers, to the US where he finds troubled refuge in Los Angeles.
This book is remarkable for both its research and its prose.
Juers has devoted years to the former and the skills of a novelist to the latter, seeing the horrors of the 1930s, in particular the desperate diaspora of Jews seeking to escape the malignancy of Nazism, through the experiences of one distinguished family.
It is 1905 and brothers Yung and Shun eke out a living as green grocers near Wellington's bustling Chinatown. The pair work to support their families back in China, but know they must adapt if they are to survive and prosper in their adopted home.
Nearby, Katherine McKechnie struggles to raise her rebellious son and daughter following the death of her husband Donald. A strident right-wing newspaperman, Donald terrorised his family, though was idolised by his son.
Chancing upon Yung's grocery store one day, Katherine is touched by the Chinaman's unexpected generosity. In time, a clandestine relationship develops between the immigrant and the widow, a relationship Katherine's son Robbie cannot abide...
As World War I rolls on, and young men are swept up on a tide of macho patriotism, Robbie takes his family's honour into his own hands. In doing so, he places his mother at the heart of a tragedy that will affect everyone and everything she holds dear. Powerful, moving and unforgettable, As the Earth Turns Silver announces the arrival of a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.
About the author
Alison Wong was born and raised in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, after her great grandparents on both sides migrated from China's Guangdong province in the 1890s. She studied mathematics at Victoria University in Wellington, worked in IT, and spent several years in China.
In 1996 she held a Reader's Digest NZ Society of Authors Fellowship in the Stout Research Centre, and in 2002 the Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University. Her poetry collection, Cup, was shortlisted for the Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and her poetry was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2006 and 2007.
As the Earth Turns Silver, her first novel, was published internationally in 2009. It was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, shortlisted for the Australian Prime Minister's Award and won the NZ Post Book Award for Fiction.
Alison lives with her family in Geelong.
A stunning first novel from a Melbourne author. The story of the Brown family will wrench at your heart and make you hug those you love ever tighter.
Emmett Brown is as dark as Heathcliff, and as unpredictable. Sometimes he's an inspiration, but not often. He's a man of booze and obsessions: one of them is his 'System', an attempt to bend the laws of probability. But when the lottery numbers and horses fail him, so do love and reason, and he becomes an ogre to his wife and children. For the innocents – Louisa, Rob, Peter, Daniel and Jessie – the bonds formed hiding in hedges at the end of the street, waiting for the maelstroms to pass, are complex and unbreakable.
Over the years, the consequences of Emmett's rages shape both their spirits and psyches, but as he lies dying they discover that love – however imperfect – is the best defence against pain.
The Book of Emmett is a novel about hope and love and surviving.
About the author
Deborah Forster grew up in Footscray, Melbourne. She worked as a staff and freelance journalist for many years and was a This Life columnist on The Age and The Sunday Age.
Deborah Foster is married to Alan Kohler and they have three children. Her novels include the Miles Franklin shortlisted The Book of Emmett and The Meaning of Grace, shortlisted for The Age Fiction Book of the Year.
Malouf's fable engraves the epic themes of the Trojan war onto a perfect miniature.
David Malouf shines new light on Homer’s Iliad, adding twists and reflections, as well as flashes of earthy humour, to surprise and enchant. In this exquisite gem of a novel, Achilles is maddened by grief at the death of his friend Patroclus. From the walls of Troy, King Priam watches the body of his son, Hector, being dragged behind Achilles’ chariot. There must be a way, he thinks, of reclaiming the body – of pitting compromise against heroics, new ways against the old, and of forcing the hand of fate. Dressed simply and in a cart pulled by a mule, an old man sets off for the Greek camp . . .
Lyrical, immediate and heartbreaking, Malouf’s fable engraves the epic themes of the Trojan war onto a perfect miniature – themes of war and heroics, hubris and humanity, chance and fate, the bonds between soldiers, fathers and sons, all newly burnished and brilliantly recast for our times.
About the author
David Malouf is the internationally acclaimed author of novels including Ransom, The Great World (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon (winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary Life, Conversations at Curlow Creek, Dream Stuff, Every Move You Make and his autobiographical classic 12 Edmondstone Street.
His Collected Stories won the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award. His most recent books are A First Place, The Writing Life and Being There.
He was born in 1934 and was brought up in Brisbane.
A rich, funny, and deeply affecting autobiographical novel from one of the world's greatest living writers.
A young English biographer is working on a book about the late writer, John Coetzee. He plans to focus on the years from 1972–1977 when Coetzee, in his thirties, is sharing a run-down cottage in the suburbs of Cape Town with his widowed father. This, the biographer senses, is the period when he was 'finding his feet as a writer'.
Never having met Coetzee, he embarks on a series of interviews with people who were important to him – a married woman with whom he had an affair, his favourite cousin Margot, a Brazilian dancer whose daughter had English lessons with him, former friends and colleagues. From their testimony emerges a portrait of the young Coetzee as an awkward, bookish individual with little talent for opening himself to others.
Within the family he is regarded as an outsider, someone who tried to flee the tribe and has now returned, chastened. His insistence on doing manual work, his long hair and beard, rumours that he writes poetry evoke nothing but suspicion in the South Africa of the time.
About the author
J.M. Coetzee's work includes Waiting For the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Boyhood, Youth, Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year. He was the first author to win the Booker Prize twice and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.
Abandoned in a big city at the onset of winter, a hungry four-year-old boy follows a stray dog to her lair. There in the rich smelly darkness, in the rub of hair, claws and teeth, he joins four puppies suckling at their mother’s teats. And so begins Romochka’s life as a dog. Weak and hairless, with his useless nose and blunt little teeth, Romochka is ashamed of what a poor dog he makes. But learning how to be something else…that’s a skill a human can master. Fortunately—because one day Romochka will have to learn how to be a boy.
About the author
Eva Hornung was born in Bendigo and now lives in rural South Australia.
Formerly published as Eva Sallis, Hornung is an award-winning writer of literary fiction and criticism: her first novel Hiam won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1997 and the Nita May Dobbie Award in 1999. The Marsh Birds won the Asher Literary Award 2005 and was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Age Book of the Year 2005, NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Eva Hornung’s highly acclaimed Dog Boy was shortlisted for numerous prizes and won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 2010.
To the ancient folkloric and literary traditions of children lost, then raised and nurtured in the animal world, Eva Hornung brings her own compassionate and contemporary outrage at the treatment of refugees and outcasts.
Dog Boy is a testing but triumphant feat of the imagination. Hornung challenges us to believe that an abandoned child in a decaying city in deep winter can sympathetically enter the small, embattled but protective society of a dog pack.
The resonances of the novel are bleak and unsettling, but the resolution is both shocking and apt, the experiment and the manner of its telling have a compelling assurance. The winner of the 2010 Fiction Awards is a remarkable work of international standing.