My recent trip to Australia seems a very long time ago now — especially as I am now immersed in loads of Canadian fiction.
As luck would have it, my return to London has coincided with a flurry of big-name Australian authors releasing long-awaited novels — why couldn't they have released them all in the first week of September? Oh well, I would have never fitted them in my suitcase anyway.
Here's five I'm looking forward to buying at some point — if they're ever released in the UK or if I can scrape together enough cash to pay for international shipping charges!
The books have been arranged in alphabetical order according to author's surname.
Published by Vintage Australia last month. There is no date available for the UK — as yet.
August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost. - See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/richard-flanagan/the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-north-9781741666700.aspx#sthash.3SBmUnpL.dpuf
"Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and
his boss, Daniel Collins, the new Constable at Mount Hay. He understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay;
Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his
coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, 'I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.'
Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable
Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben.
Bobby's love for Collins' wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading
to tragic consequences for them all. Miller's exquisite
depictions of the country of the Queensland highlands form the
background of this simply told but deeply significant novel of
friendship, love, loyalty and the tragic consequences of
misunderstanding and mistrust. Coal Creek is a wonderfully
satisfying novel with a gratifying resolution."
Published by Allen & Unwin in Australia earlier this month. Not published in the UK until next March, but a Kindle edition is available on Amazon.
Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas
"Daniel Kelly, a talented young swimmer, has one chance to escape his working-class upbringing. His astonishing ability in the pool should drive him to fame and fortune, as well as his revenge on the rich boys at the private school to which he has won a sports scholarship. But when he melts down at his first big international championship and comes only fifth, he begins to destroy everything he has fought for and turn on everyone around him. Barracuda is a powerful and moving novel of sport and violence, class and education, dreams and disillusionment; it is the story of a young man who eventually comes to realise that it is in family and friendship that his strongest identity lies."
Published in Australia by Allen & Unwin on 1 November, but not published in the UK until 2 January 2014. But international buyers can purchase the ePub edition from the Booktopia website.
Eyrie by Tim Winton
"Tom Keely's reputation is in ruins. And that's the upside. Divorced and unemployed, he's lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim highrise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he's retired hurt and angry. He's done fighting the good fight, and well past caring. But even in his seedy flat, ducking the neighbours, he's not safe from entanglement. All it takes is an awkward encounter in the lobby. A woman from his past, a boy the likes of which he's never met before. Two strangers leading a life beyond his experience and into whose orbit he falls despite himself. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting. Inhabited by unforgettable characters, Eyrie asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing."
Published in Australia by Penguin Australia earlier this month, but not published in the UK until June 2014.
"The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel Carpentaria won the
Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the ABIA
Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award. The Swan Book is set in the
future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the
north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It
follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of
gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where
she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands
of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage
to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her
elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a
flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities
which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning
best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing
Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope
in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of
storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale."
Published in Australia by Giramondo Publishing Co last month. Not published in the UK, but a Kindle edition is available on Amazon.
Please note that the release dates quoted for the UK are subject to change.
Are there any on this list that have piqued your interest?