This Water: Five Tales

The five stories that make up This Water draw on familiar tropes from fairy tales and classical mythology, but fashion them into distinct and evocative fictional worlds. Beverley Farmer’s protagonists confront the universal problems of love, desire, loyalty and loss; but the contexts in which they face these problems also compel us to consider the ways in which the constraints imposed upon them by virtue of their social positions as women have conspired to shape their experiences, conflicts and sufferings.

The Life to Come

The Life to Come is a compelling work that rewards through its layered storytelling, showcasing an author at the peak of her powers. It is a novel that explores vast and varied terrain, both physical and psychological, examining many places – Sydney, Paris, Sri Lanka – and the people who move within them.

Terra Nullius

Claire G. Coleman’s Terra Nulllius is an arresting and original novel that addresses the legacy of Australia’s violent colonial history. It is a novel for our times, one whose tone is as impassioned as its message is necessary.

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree

Shokoofeh Azar’s The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is a unique and profoundly moving novel, translated from Farsi by Adrien Kijek. Set in Iran, the story is narrated by thirteen-year-old Bahar as she follows the fortunes of her family in the violent aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Sea Hearts

Margo Lanagan’s wonderfully imaginative and lyrical novel creates a world that seems half-familiar: wild Rollrock Island, from which the original bold red-headed women have disappeared and in their place are the quiet, dark and slender seal-wives, the women whom the witch Misskaella has drawn by magic, fully grown, from the hearts of seals to please the bewitched men of the island.

Like a House on Fire

Like a House on Fire is a substantial book that maintains its quality from start to finish, with no slight or weak stories added to make weight. Kennedy is well known as one of the country’s best practitioners of the form and these fifteen strong and vivid stories do not disappoint, each of them showing her instinctive feel for the shape and pace of a short story.

Sufficient Grace

Questions of Travel

Following two very different characters in parallel as their lives move closer together along very different paths, this ambitious novel is a prolonged meditation on the meaning of travel, and on the ways in which humanity has learned to negotiate time and space in the 21st century, and the part played by the internet in the altered ways we now think about communication and travel.

The Burial

Based on the real-life story of bushranger and outlaw Jessie Hickman and set in the first decades of the 20th century, this exotic and earthy novel tracks Jessie’s escape first from her abusive husband and then from the men who come after her in pursuit. It’s a harrowing read and a wild ride.

Mazin Grace

In Mazin Grace, Dylan Coleman fictionalises her mother’s childhood at the Koonibba Lutheran Mission in South Australia in the 1940s and 50s. Woven through the narrative are the powerful, rhythmic sounds of Aboriginal English and Kokatha language.

Floundering

Tom and Jordy have been living with their gran since the day their mother, Loretta, left them on her doorstep and disappeared. Now Loretta’s returned, and she wants her boys back.

All the Birds, Singing

On a nameless island where the wind and rain are unrelenting, Jake Whyte lives alone but for her dog and her flock of sheep, away from other people and clearly in some way damaged. But fear sets in when something starts savaging her sheep, and even invading her house, though she can never work out what it is or manage to confront it.