What do you think about when you consider the concept of Australian fiction? Many of us conjure up iconic Tim Winton descriptions of surfing or the exuberant Dickensian storytelling of Bryce Courtenay’s The Potato Factory. Maybe you think of stories you loved as a child or books that were adapted into blockbuster films?
When I think of Australian fiction today, I revel in a great gamut of voices and ever-changing styles. Many of them have become my favourite books – books that have helped me interpret and celebrate this massive, vibrant and often contradictory country, and all who call it home.
In short, I bloody love Australian fiction and I think you should too. Below are just 10 Aussie novels being released this year. I’ve read and been blown away by early copies of a few of these. All should be on your radar.
by Claire Thomas
As bushfires rage outside the city, three women watch a performance of a Beckett play. As the performance unfolds, so does each woman’s story. By the time the curtain falls, they will all have a new understanding of the world beyond the stage.
by Emily Maguire
Nic is a 45-year-old trivia buff, amateur nail artist and fairy godmother to the neighbourhood’s stray cats. Nic’s closest relationship is with her niece Lena. The two of them meet for lunch every Sunday to gossip about the rest of the family and bitch about work. One Sunday, Nic fails to turn up to lunch …
The Truth About Her
by Jacqueline Maley
Journalist and single mother Suzy Hamilton gets a phone call one summer morning, and finds out that the subject of one of her investigative exposes, 25-year-old wellness blogger Tracey Doran, has killed herself overnight. Suzy is horrified by this news but copes in the only way she knows how – through work, mothering and carrying on with her ill-advised tandem affairs.
The Ripping Tree
by Nikki Gemmell
It’s the early 1800s and Thomasina Trelora is on her way to the colonies. As the Australian coastline comes into view, a storm wrecks the ship and leaves her lying on the rocks, near death. She’s saved by an Aboriginal man who carries her to the door of a grand European house, Willowbrae. As she’s drawn deeper into the intriguing life of this grand estate, she discovers that things aren’t quite as they seem.
by Briohny Doyle
Set in a fictional regional city beset by drought, Echolalia follows a family in the advent and aftermath of unspeakable tragedy, the narrative moving fluidly between the ‘before’ and ‘after’.
One Hundred Days
by Alice Pung
In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, 16-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Incensed, Karuna’s mother, already over-protective, confines her to their 14th-storey housing commission flat to keep her safe from the outside world. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby festers between them.
by Larissa Behrendt
When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother Della on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, she hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past. Twenty-five years earlier, the disappearance of Jasmine’s older sister devastated their tight-knit community. This tragedy returns to haunt Jasmine and Della when another child mysteriously goes missing on Hampstead Heath.
by Jamie Marina Lau
Throughout a childhood spent moving between different countries, one thing was constant for Leen – the local shopping centre. So, when it feels like the same day for far too long, Leen decides to open a healing studio. The Par Mars Topic Heights shopping complex is the perfect location to build a business. Here, Leen thinks she is making connections. But what if you trust the wrong person?
Once There Were Wolves
by Charlotte McConaghy
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing 14 grey wolves into the remote highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.
Apples Never Fall
by Liane Moriarty
From the outside, the Delaneys appear to be an enviably contented family. Even after all these years, former tennis coaches Joy and Stan are still winning tournaments, and now that they’ve sold the family business they have all the time in the world to learn how to relax. Their four adult children are busy living their own lives. But now Joy Delaney has disappeared …
What are the best books you’ve read so far this year? Are you a fan of Australian writers? Who is your favourite?
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