The Australian Book Industry Awards shortlists were announced this week – always an exciting moment for local publishers, authors and bookshops.
The various categories cover fiction, non-fiction and children’s categories, and provide an overview into what Australians are reading and recommending via word-of-mouth.
Award winners will be announced on May 13, but today we thought we’d look at those novels who have made it to the Literary Fiction Book of the Year shortlist. Some fabulous Autumn reading in this lot.
What happens when three long-time friends gather at the Sydney beach getaway of a fourth friend who has recently died, and are forced to confront their own notions of friendship, love and old age?
Wood’s multi-layered book covers one weekend, but travels back and forth through the lives of Jude, Wendy and Adele as they grapple with Sylvie’s absence and wonder: what’s next?
The story of Albert Gondiwini – taken from his family and his culture and placed in a church-run home for Aboriginal boys – provides Winch with a launching pad into a raft of matters relating to importance of keeping alive Indigenous traditions and language.
Writes The Saturday Paper: “Winch’s novel here calls to mind Toni Morrison’s classic magical realist novel Beloved, in which a former slave becomes masochistically obsessed with the ghosts of her past.”
Like Beloved, this novel is an important and valuable reading experience.
Earlier this year, Christos Tsiolkas came to My Bookshop and for an hour-and-a-half and held an audience of 50-plus people in the palm of his hand.
He is a gifted speaker and one of Australia’s finest writers and thinkers.
On that night, Tsiolkas told the story of Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish pharisee who converted to Christianity and became St Paul, one of the Church’s most powerful advocates and communicators.
Paul is a key character in Tsiolkas’ latest novel Damascus, a book we continue to recommend to bookworms in search of a thoughtful, provocative and courageous read.
There Was Still Love
Favel Parrett’s third novel recently won the Indie Book of the Year Award and confirms her place as one of Australia’s finest literary writers.
Although a fictional work, Parrett draws deep into her childhood memory to create this story of twin sisters who are separated by the migration experience and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.
Based on Parrett’s own Czech grandparents’ experience, this beautiful novel will stay with you long after the covers have closed.
The beautiful and eerie setting of Wolfe Island, a small land mass which is slowly sinking into Chesapeake Bay, is itself a powerful character in Lucy Treloar’s wonderful new novel.
This is the story of Kitty, an artist whose only companion is her wolfdog, Girl, and who is the last inhabitant on the island.
Her solitary life is blown apart with the arrival of her grand-daughter, her boyfriend and two others who are all on the run.
The Australian Book Review describes this as “a work that is more than powerful; it’s transformative”.
We agree, and predict Wolfe Island will be one of 2020’s slow-burns.
Corrie Perkin is a Melbourne journalist and bookseller whose Hawksburn shop is still open via mybookshop.com.au. My Bookshop is also taking book orders on 03 9824 2990 and offers free home delivery within 10kms of the shop.