The 2016 Stella Prize Longlist announced!

The longlist for the 2016 Stella Prize has just been announced, and what an exciting list of Australian authors!

Named after one of Australia’s most important female authors, Stella Maria Miles Franklin, The Stella Prize celebrates Australian women’s contribution to literature, awarded last year to Emily Bitto for The Strays.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself with the help of Booktopia.


The Women’s Pages

by Debra Adelaide

xthe-women-s-pagesEllis, an ordinary suburban young woman of the 1960s, is troubled by secrets and gaps in her past that become more puzzling as her creator, Dove, writes her story fifty years later. Having read Wuthering Heights to her dying mother, Dove finds she cannot shake off the influence of that singular novel: it has infected her like a disease. Instead of returning to her normal life she follows the story it has inspired to discover more about Ellis, who has emerged from the pages of fiction herself – or has she? – to become a modern successful career woman.

The Women’s Pages is about the choices and compromises women must make, their griefs and losses, and their need to fill in the absent spaces where other women – especially those who become mothers – should have been. And it is about the mysterious process of creativity, about the way stories are shaped and fiction is formed. Right up to its astonishing conclusion, The Women’s Pages asserts the power of the reader’s imagination, which can make the deepest desires and strangest dreams come true.

About the Author

Debra AdelaideDebra Adelaide is the author or editor of over twelve books, including the best-selling Motherlove series (1996-98) and Acts of Dog (2003). Her novels include The Hotel Albatross (1995), Serpent Dust (1998) and the best-selling The Household Guide to Dying (2008), which was sold around the world. In 2013 she published her first collection of short stories, Letter to George Clooney, which was long- and short-listed for three literary awards. Her most recent book is the edited collection, The Simple Act of Reading (2015). She is an associate professor in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Learn more or grab your copy of The Women’s Pages here

Debra answers the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions


The Other Side of the World

by Stephanie Bishop

xthe-other-side-of-the-world.Cambridge, 1963: Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can’t face the thought of another English winter.

A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’.

Despite wanting to stay in the place that she knows, Charlotte is too worn out to fight. Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, she is travelling to the other side of the world. Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she’ll go to find her way home…

About the Author

Stephanie BishopStephanie Bishop’s first novel was The Singing, for which she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists. The Singing was also highly commended for the Kathleen Mitchell Award. Her second novel, The Other Side of the World, was shortlisted for the 2014 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

Stephanie’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Southerly, Overland and Island and she is a frequent contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The Australian, The Sydney Review Of Books, The Australian Book Review and the Sydney Morning Herald. She is a recipient of an Australia Council New Work Grant, an Asialink Fellowship, an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship, a Varuna Mentorship Fellowship and Varuna Residency Fellowship. She holds a PhD from Cambridge and is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of New South Wales.

Learn more or grab your copy of The Other Side of the World here


Panthers and the Museum of Fire

by Jen Craig

panthers-and-the-museum-of-fire
Panthers & the Museum of Fire
is a novella about walking, memory and writing.

The narrator walks from Glebe to a central Sydney cafe to return a manuscript by a recently-dead writer. While she walks, the reader enters the narrator’s entire world: life with family and neighbours, narrow misses with cars, her singular friendships, dinner conversations and work. We learn of her adolescent desire for maturity and acceptance through a brush with religion, her anorexia, the exercise of that power when she was powerless in every other aspect of her life.


About the Author

Jen CraigJen Craig is a fiction writer and a Doctoral candidate with the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney.

Her short stories have appeared in HEAT, Southerly, Redoubt and the Redress Press anthology Shrieks. In addition to short fiction, she has worked with composers Stephen Adams and Michael Schneider in the production of texts for music performances, including the chamber opera A Dictionary of Maladies. Her first novel, Since the Accident, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2009. She teaches English language skills and creative writing, and blogs micro fiction.

Learn more or grab your copy of Panthers and the Museum of Fire here


Six Bedrooms

by Tegan Bennett Daylight

six bedroomsSix Bedrooms is about growing up; about discovering sex; and about coming of age. Full of glorious angst, embarrassment and small achievements.

Hot afternoons on school ovals, the terrifying promise of losing your virginity, sneaking booze from your mother’s pantry, the painful sophistication and squalor of your first share house, cancer, losing a parent.

Tegan Bennett Daylight’s powerful collection captures the dangerous, tilting terrain of becoming adult. Over these ten stories, we find acute portrayals of loss and risk, of sexual longing and wreckage, blunders and betrayals. Threaded through the collection is the experience of troubled, destructive Tasha, whose life unravels in unexpected ways, and who we come to love for her defiance, her wit and her vulnerability.

Stunningly written, and shot through with humour and menace, Six Bedrooms is a mesmerising collection of moments from adolescence through adulthood, a mix of all the potent ingredients that make up a life.

Tegan Bennett Daylight 20 May 2014 Carrington Hotel, Katoomba NSW Australia

About the Author

Tegan Bennett Daylight is a critic, teacher and fiction writer. She is the author of several books for children and teenagers, the novels Bombora, What Falls Away and Safety. Her stories appear in a wide range of Australian journals, including Griffith Review, Meanjin and Best Australian Stories. She lives in the Blue Mountains with her husband and two children.

 

Learn more or grab your copy of Six Bedrooms here


Hope Farm

by Peggy Frew

xhope-farm

It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the ragged landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver’s mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start.

At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and, at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world — and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences.

Hope Farm is the masterful second novel from award-winning author Peggy Frew, and is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood, and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.Peggy Frew

About the Author

Peggy Frew’s debut novel, House of Sticks, won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her story Home Visit won The Age short story competition. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, and Meanjin. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting.

Learn more or grab your copy of Hope Farm here


A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories

by Elizabeth Harrower

a-few-days-in-the-country-and-other-storiesOne day, Alice said, ‘Eric Lane wants to take me to -‘

For the first time, her mother attended, standing still.

Eric was brought to the house, and Eric and Alice were married before there was time to say ‘knife’. How did it happen? She tried to trace it back. She was watching her mother performing for Eric, and then (she always paused here in her mind), somehow, she woke up married and in another house.

Internationally acclaimed for her five brilliant novels, Elizabeth Harrower is also the author of a small body of short fiction. A Few Days in the Country brings together for the first time her stories published in Australian journals in the 1960s and 1970s, along with those from her archives—including ‘Alice’, published for the first time earlier this year in the New Yorker.

Essential reading for Harrower fans, these finely turned pieces show a broader range than the novels, ranginElizabeth Harrowerg from caustic satires to gentler explorations of friendship.

About the Author

Elizabeth Harrower is the author of the novels Down in the City, The Long Prospect, The Catherine Wheel, The Watch Tower and In Certain Circles, which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2015. A Few Days in the Country is her first collection of short stories.

Learn more or grab your copy of A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories here


A Guide to Berlin

by Gail Jones

a-guide-to-berlinA Guide to Berlin is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.

A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone’s story.

Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets.

About the Author

Gail JonesGail Jones is the author of two short-story collections, a critical monograph, and the novels Black Mirror, Sixty Lights, Dreams Of Speaking, Sorry and Five Bells. Three times shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, her prizes include the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction, the Nita B. Kibble Award, the Steele Rudd Award, The Age Book of the Year Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Fiction and the ASAL Gold Medal. She has also been shortlisted for international awards, including the IMPAC and the Prix Femina. Her fiction has been translated into nine languages.

Learn more or grab your copy of A Guide to Berlin here


The World Without Us

by Mireille Juchau

the-world-without-us

Told from the perspective of six, interconnected characters, The World Without Us is a tale of love in all its forms, a mystery and an elegy for a denatured landscape. It is about the ways we become lost to ourselves, and the transformative joys of being found.

After a fire destroys her family’s commune home, Evangeline is forced to start afresh in the north coast rainforest town with her child, and partner, Stefan Muller.

Years later, while tending the bees on their farm, Stefan discovers a car wreck, and not far off, human remains. While the locals speculate on who has gone missing from the transient hinterland town, Stefan’s daughters Tess and Meg, have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning wet, muddy and disheveled?

Jim Parker, a Sydney teacher escaping his own troubles arrives in their clannish community. One morning he stumbles upon Evangeline, naked by a river with a hammer and some rope. Their charged encounter propels Evangeline’s past into the present and sparks a change in all their lives.

Meanwhile ten year old Tess, mute since the loss of her youngest sister, attempts to escape. Will getting lost help her discover where she belongs? As the rainy season descends, and each of the family are separated by flood, they realise nothing is what it seems.

About the Author

Mireille JuchauMireille Juchau is a Sydney-based writer of novels, short fiction, essays, scripts and reviews. The World Without Us is her third novel, and won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her first, Machines for Feeling was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award and the second, Burning In, was published by Giramondo Publishing in 2007. It was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2008, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2008, the Age Book of the Year Award 2008 and the Nita B. Kibble Award 2008. She has a PhD in writing and literature and teaches at universities and in the community.

Learn more or grab your copy of The World Without Us here

Mireille answers the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions


A Short History of Richard Kline

by Amanda Lohrey

a-short-history-of-richard-klineAll his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which some people slip – seemingly unquestioningly – into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth.

As he moves into middle age, Richard grows increasingly angry. But then a strange event awakens him to a different way of living. He finds himself on a quest, almost against his own will, to resolve the ‘divine discontent’ he has suffered since childhood. From pharmaceuticals to new age therapies and finding a guru, Richard’s journey dramatises the search for meaning in today’s world.

This moving and audacious novel is a pilgrim’s progress for the here and now. Suffused with yearning and a sense of the mystical, this extraordinary novel is one of Lohrey’s finest offerings yet.

About the Author

Amanda LohreyAmanda Lohrey is the author of the acclaimed novels The Morality of Gentlemen, Camille’s Bread and The Philosopher’s Doll; the novella Vertigo; as well as the award-winning short story collection Reading Madame Bovary. She has also written two Quarterly EssaysGroundswell and Voting for Jesus. In 2012 she was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award.

 

 

Learn more or grab your copy of A Short History of Richard Kline here

Watch Amanda talking about A Short History of Richard Kline here


Anchor Point

by Alice Robinson

anchor-pointAs her parents clash over unwashed dishes and unlit fires, ten-year-old Laura works hard to keep the household running. When her mother disappears into the bush, Laura finds a farewell note and makes an impulsive decision that alters the course of her family’s life. Despite her anger and grief, Laura helps her father clear their wild acreage to carve out a farm. But gradually they realise that while they may own the land, they cannot tame it – nor can they escape their past.

Anchor Point charts Laura’s life over the course of four decades as she tries to hold her family together and find her place in the world. Eventually, she has to confront the choices she has made and decide where she truly belongs. This is an eloquent, arresting and quintessentially Australian novel that no reader will easily forget.

About the Author

Alice RobinsonAlice Robinson is a lecturer in creative writing at Melbourne Polytechnic. She has a PhD in creative writing from Victoria University, and her work has appeared in publications including Kill Your Darlings, Overland, The Lifted Brow and Arena Magazine. Anchor Point is her debut novel.

Learn more or grab your copy of Anchor Point here


The Natural Way of Things

by Charlotte Wood

the-natural-way-of-thingsTwo women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a ‘nurse’.

The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world?

Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl’s past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue – but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves…charlotte-wood

The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.

About the Author

Charlotte Wood is the author of five novels and a book of non-fiction, and editor of The Writer’s Room Interviews magazine. Her last novel, Animal People, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and her other books have been shortlisted for many prizes including the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

 

Learn more about The Natural Way of Things here

Read John Purcell’s review of The Natural Way of Things


Small Acts of Disappearance

by Fiona Wright

xsmall-acts-of-disappearance.jpg.pagespeed.ic.P6LX3_YIbeSmall Acts of Disappearance is a collection of ten essays that describes the author’s affliction with an eating disorder which begins in high school, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author’s own actions and motivations.

The essays offer perspectives on the eating disorder at different stages in Wright’s life, at university, where she finds herself in a radically different social world to the one she grew up in, in Sri Lanka as a fledgling journalist, in Germany as a young writer, in her hospital treatments back in Sydney.

They combine research, travel writing, memoir, and literary discussions of how writers like Christina Stead, Carmel Bird, Tim Winton, John Berryman and Louise Glück deal with anorexia and addiction; together with accounts ofFiona Wright family life, and detailed and humorous views of hunger-induced situations of the kind that are so compelling in Wright’s poetry.

About the Author

Fiona Wright’s poetry book, Knuckled, won the Dame Mary Gilmore Award for a first collection. Her poems and essays have been published in the Australian, Meanjin, Island, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Seizure and HEAT.

Learn more or grab your copy of Small Acts of Disappearance here


Children’s novel The Lie Tree wins Costa Book of the Year

119830Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree has become just the second children’s novel in half a century to win the prestigious Costa Book of the Year.

The Lie Tree, Hardinge’s seventh novel, tells the story of Faith Sunderly whose family have left England for a remote island to escape a scandal.

When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she sets out to uncover the truth and discovers a strange tree that feeds off whispered lies.
James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension.”

Receiving the award,  Hardinge said: “It is a fantastic time to be writing children’s fiction and YA fiction.

“For those people who might be hearing this who think that children’s and YA fiction is not their thing please do come and explore – there’s a beautiful jungle out there.”

2015 COSTA CATEGORY AWARD WINNERS

Costa Book of the Year: Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree
Costa First Novel Award: Andrew Michael Hurley – The Loney
Costa Novel Award: Kate Atkinson – A God in Ruins
Costa Biography Award: Andrea Wulf – The Invention of Nature
Costa Poetry Award: Don Paterson – 40 Sonnets
Costa Children’s Book Award: Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree

The Costa prize honours outstanding books by authors based in the UK and Ireland and was previously known as the Whitbread award.

Last year’s Costa book of the year went to Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk.

xthe-lie-tree.jpg.pagespeed.ic.QLBE10YYzqThe Lie Tree

by Frances Hardinge

Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree.

The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community.

But as the tree bears more and more fruit, she discovers something terrifying – that her lies were closer to the truth than she could ever have imagined…

Grab your copy of The Lie Tree here

VOTE NOW: Australia’s Favourite Author 2016 – Heat 5

Australian Stories 5Our annual vote to discover Australia’s Favourite Author is here again! Over 100,000 Australians had their say last year, and this year will be even bigger!

It’s your chance to champion your favourite Australian authors and vote them through to next week’s final round of voting. You can vote for as many authors as you like, with the poll closing at midnight tonight.

This is the final heat! Check out the results of Heat 1, Heat 2, Heat 3 and Heat 4!

Click here, to see more details about the process, and don’t forget to check out last year’s results here!

So what are you waiting for? Get voting!

___________________________________

Looking for a Great Australian Read?
AustralianStories_RotatingHomepageBanner-770x200px-categoriesCheck out our Australian Stories collection, with over 6,000 local titles to choose from!


Need help deciding who to vote for?
Listen to our chats with some of our fave Aussie authors.

VOTE NOW: Australia’s Favourite Author 2016 – Heat 4

Australian Stories Heat 4Our annual vote to discover Australia’s Favourite Author is here again! Over 100,000 Australians had their say last year, and this year will be even bigger!

It’s your chance to champion your favourite Australian authors and vote them through to next week’s final round of voting. You can vote for as many authors as you like, with the poll closing at midnight tonight.

Remember, this is only Heat 4 (check out the results of Heat 1, Heat 2 and Heat 3), we still have 1 more heat to run!

Click here, to see more details about the process, and don’t forget to check out last year’s results here!

So what are you waiting for? Get voting!

___________________________________

Looking for a Great Australian Read?
AustralianStories_RotatingHomepageBanner-770x200px-categoriesCheck out our Australian Stories collection, with over 6,000 local titles to choose from!


Need help deciding who to vote for?
Listen to our chats with some of our fave Aussie authors.

Monica McInerney

Di Morrissey

Liane Moriarty

Michael Robotham

Alice Pung

Isobelle Carmody

Mem Fox

Tom Keneally

Garth Nix

VOTE NOW: Australia’s Favourite Author 2016 – Heat 3

Australian Stories Heat 3It’s your chance to champion your favourite Australian authors and vote them through to next week’s final round of voting.

You can vote for as many authors as you like, with the poll closing at midnight tonight!

Remember, this is only Heat 3, we still have 2 more heats to run.

Click here, to see more details about the process, and don’t forget to check out last year’s results here!

So what are you waiting for? Get voting!

___________________________________

Looking for a Great Australian Read?
AustralianStories_RotatingHomepageBanner-770x200px-categoriesCheck out our Australian Stories collection, with over 6,000 local titles to choose from!


Need help deciding who to vote for?
Listen to our chats with some of our fave Aussie authors.

Tristan Bancks

Stephanie Bishop

Tony Park

Kate Mayes

Melissa Ambrosini

Fiona Palmer

Greg Fleet

 

 

 

VOTE NOW: Australia’s Favourite Author 2016 – Heat 2

AustralianStories_SocialMediaPostcard-720x479_Heat2Our annual vote to discover Australia’s Favourite Author is here again! Over 100,000 Australians had their say last year, and this year will be even bigger!

It’s your chance to champion your favourite Australian authors and vote them through to next week’s final round of voting. You can vote for as many authors as you like, with the poll closing at midnight tonight.

Remember, this is only Heat 2 (check out the results of yesterday’s vote here). we still have 3 more heats to run!

Click here, to see more details about the process, and don’t forget to check out last year’s results here!

So what are you waiting for? Get voting!

___________________________________

Looking for a Great Australian Read?
AustralianStories_RotatingHomepageBanner-770x200px-categoriesCheck out our Australian Stories collection, with over 6,000 local titles to choose from!


Need help deciding who to vote for?
Listen to our chats with some of our fave Aussie authors.

Kate Grenville

 

Aaron Blabey

 

Fiona McIntosh

 

Jay Kristoff

A Very Bookish Chat With Some Prime Minister’s Literary Award Winners!

We chat to some of the big winners at last night’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, Darleen Bungey, Claire Zorn and Ross Coulthart, about the writing life and their favourite books of 2015.

Enjoy!

How do you get started writing each morning?


PHOTO Darleen BungeyDarleen Bungey (winner of the Best Non-Fiction award for John Olsen: An Artist’s Life):

Getting started means going straight to the desk – whether it’s 4am when I can’t get the subject out of my head, or a more reasonable hour.


0003269Claire Zorn (winner of the Young Adult Fiction award for The Protected):

I treat writing like I would any other job, it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like doing it, it still has to be done.


PHOTO Ross Coulthart Ross Coulthart (winner of the Australian History award for Charles Bean):

Before you go to bed each night, read through the next bit of writing that has you stumped.

I find my subconscious works on it while I’m sleeping, and I have the answer in the morning.  I write it all down as soon as I wake.


Your best tip for beating writer’s block?

Darleen Bungey: Overcoming writer’s block is to stay sitting in front of the screen.

Claire Zorn: I build a playlist for every story I write. I listen to it when I get stuck and it’s helps my brain focus and stop over-thinking.

Ross Coulthart: Go for a long walk or swim. Do anything except sit in front of your desk. Stay away from actually writing as much as possible.

 

Where do you find inspiration?

Claire Zorn: All my books spring from song lyrics. I also watch a lot of documentaries about all sorts of different people.

Darleen Bungey: Inspiration is found by reading wonderful books.

Ross Coulthart: Read, read, read. Explore your subject. Don’t start writing until you’ve  mastered the material.  Delve into libraries/museums and explore the subject matter.  Ramble through archives. Always go the distance and get out to interview people with information. Make it fun, not a grind.  Don’t go into it with preconceived ideas.

 

Which was your favourite book of 2015?

Ross Coulthart: I’m absolutely hooked on all of Sunday Times journalist Ben McIntyre’s WW2 histories (Agent Zig-Zag, Double Cross & Operation Mincemeat) but his 2014 investigation of the Cambridge Six British MI6 traitors who spied for Russia  – A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal – is magnificent. I’d never been able to explain how British intelligence could not have detected Philby, Maclean, Burgess and Blunt but he explains how their social class and connections gave them the benefit of the doubt with the establishment for far too long.

I’ve barely had time this year to read anything outside of history and the day job but I have Robert Harris’ latest book Dictator – a reprise of his wonderful portrayal of Cicero. Harris is an ex-investigative journalist who makes a decent living out of his beautifully written historical thrillers so he’s my pin-up.

Claire Zorn: The Heart Goes Last, by the incomparable Margaret Atwood. It’s troubling and yet hilarious – the best combination in any story.

Darleen Bungey: The two books of 2015 that will remain in my mind were This House of Grief by Helen Garner, and H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Both works deal with grief borne of untimely and unexpected death.

Garner takes us into a courtroom where the possible crime of a father’s infanticide is being tried. She deals with the horror by bearing witness, by questioning and never looking away, even when investigating and holding her gaze demands a nightmarish effort.  Garner delivers solace by dredging from a lake of tears some sense of terrible understanding, some sort of wretched truth.

Macdonald hunts down bereavement with a bird of prey. Her father, a photographer, suffers a fatal heart attack. His final photograph, tragically snapped as he fell onto a London street, was askew. In turn his daughter’s world begins spinning out of kilter. As Macdonald explores memories of her father, her childhood passion with falconry and the writings on this subject by author, T.H. White, she retreats into a solitude shared with a goshawk. By patiently gaining the trust of this predator Macdonald forges an intimate connection to the wild world. As the bird flies and kills, she watches beauty soar and death swoop. With this acceptance of the natural cycle comes comfort and release.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,965 other followers

%d bloggers like this: