This month’s ‘Other Genres’ category features debut novelists, with three first novels from Australian writers. There is a wide variation of theme, from historical to psychological thrillers, chic lit to horror and suspense to romance. Highly recommended is the translated novel by German author Dirk Kurbjuweit, titled Fear.
The Florentine Bridge / Vanessa Carnevale.
“Young Australian artist Mia Moretti has been cancer free for nine months. But her battle with the illness has taken its toll, leaving her depressed and tormented by overwhelming fears. What’s more, she can’t seem to paint anymore. Mia needs a fresh start so when a surprise opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it. What she doesn’t count on is meeting Luca, a handsome Italian mechanic. As Mia slowly lets down her walls and allows Luca in, her passion for life is reignited and her new perspective begins to inspire her art. But just when she’s ready to let go of her past, will a tragedy threaten her new life with Luca?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Barking dogs / Rebekah Clarkson.
“If you took a bird’s-eye view of Mount Barker, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks in an ordinary regional town. Get closer. Peer through a window. You might see Nathan Long, obsessively recording the incessant bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. If you listen, you may hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure, incorruptible love. Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime.” (Adapted from Book cover)
The Crying Place / Lia Hills.
“After years of travelling, Saul is trying to settle down. But one night he receives the devastating news of the death of his oldest friend, Jed, recently returned from working in a remote Aboriginal community. Saul’s discovery in Jed’s belongings of a photo of a woman convinces him that she may hold the answers to Jed’s fate. So he heads out on a journey into the heart of the Australian desert to find the truth, setting in motion a powerful story about the landscapes that shape us and the ghosts that lay their claim.A stunning literary debut that takes the reader into the mysteries and truths that lie at the heart of our country.” (Adapted from Book cover)
The Huntingfield paintress / Pamela Holmes.
“Plucky and headstrong Mildred Holland reveled in the eight years she and her husband, the vicar William Holland, spent traveling 1840s Europe, finding inspiration in recording beautiful artistic treasures and collecting exotic artifacts. But William’s new posting in a tiny Suffolk village is a world apart, and Mildred finds a life of tea and sympathy dull and stifling in comparison. When a longed-for baby does not arrive, she sinks into despondency and despair. A sudden chance encounter fires Mildred’s creative imagination and she embarks on a Herculean task that demands courage and passion. Defying her loving but exasperated husband, and mistrustful locals who suspect her of supernatural powers, Mildred rediscovers her passion and lives again through her dreams of beauty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Someone out there / Catherine Hunt.
“A story of obsession, revenge and deceit, of a woman caught up in terrifying circumstances. Laura Maxwell appears to have it all, perfect career, perfect husband, perfect life. But how well do you really know the people around you? All it takes is one tiny crack to shatter the whole façade.A series of accidents causes Laura to believe that someone is deliberately targeting her, trying to harm her. Fear starts to pervade every part of her life, affecting her work and her marriage, and she feels increasingly isolated. If no one believes Laura’s story, who will be there to protect her when her attacker closes in for the kill?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Nina is not ok / Shappi Khorsandi.
“Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Fear / Dirk Kurbjuweit ; translated from the German by Imogen Taylor.
“Randolph insists he had a normal childhood, though his father kept thirty loaded guns in the house. Now he has an attractive, intelligent wife and two children, enjoys modest success as an architect and has just moved into a beautiful flat in a respectable part of Berlin. Life seems perfect until his wife, Rebecca, meets the man living in the basement below. Their downstairs neighbour is friendly at first, but soon he starts to frighten them and when Randolph fails to act, the situation quickly spins out of control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Fish in exile / Vi Khi Nao.
“How do you bear the death of a child? with fish tanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Futures / Anna Pitoniak.
“This is a story of a relationship that falls apart, a story of heartbreak and betrayal. It is the story of a young couple who graduate from Yale in 2008, just as the financial crisis begins and there are no jobs for graduates. It is a story of their new start together in New York City and their tentative first steps into adulthood. It is a story of growing up and taking chances and making terrible mistakes. This is Evan and Julia’s story. This is a love story.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Defender / G X Todd.
“In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road. The moment locks them together. Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet. These voices have purpose, and when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)