'Marie King is a 59-year-old divorcée from Sydney's affluent north shore. Having devoted her rather conventional life to looking after her husband and three children - who have now all departed the family home - she is experiencing something of an identity crisis, especially as she must now sell the family home and thus lose her beloved garden. On a folly she gets a tattoo.
'Marie forges a friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys, who introduces her to an alternative side of Sydney. Through their burgeoning connection, Marie's two worlds collide causing great friction within Marie's family and with her circle of rich friends.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Strangers did not, as a rule, find their way to Chez Dom, a small, rundown Tunisian cafe on Paris' distant fringes. Run by the widow Houria and her young niece, Sabiha, the cafe offers a home away from home for the North African immigrant workers working at the great abattoirs of Vaugiraud, who, like them, had grown used to the smell of blood in the air. But when one day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm, the quiet simplicities of their lives are changed forever.
John is like no-one Sabiha has met before - his calm grey eyes promise her a future she was not yet even aware she wanted. Theirs becomes a contented but unlikely marriage - a marriage of two cultures lived in a third - and yet because they are essentially foreigners to each other, their love story sets in train an irrevocable course of tragic events.
Years later, living a small, quiet life in suburban Melbourne, what happened at Vaugiraud seems like a distant, troubling dream to Sabiha and John, who confides the story behind their seemingly ordinary lives to Ken, an ageing, melancholy writer. It is a story about home and family, human frailties and passions, raising questions of morals and purpose - questions have no simple answer.
Lovesong is a simple enough story in many ways - the story of a marriage, of people coming undone by desire, of ordinary lives and death, love and struggle - but when told with Miller's distinctive voice, which is all intelligence, clarity and compassion, it has a real gravitas, it resonates and is deeply moving. Into the wonderfully evoked contemporary settings of Paris and Melbourne, memories of Tunisian family life, culture and its music are tenderly woven.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Only in America - the most powerful democracy on earth, home to the best and worst of everything - are the most extreme contradictions possible. In a series of journeys acclaimed author Don Watson set out to explore the nation that has influenced him more than any other.
'Travelling by rail gave Watson a unique and seductive means of peering into the United States, a way to experience life with its citizens: long days with the American landscape and American towns and American history unfolding on the outside, while inside a tiny particle of the American people talked among themselves.
'Watson's experiences are profoundly affecting: he witnesses the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast; explores the savage history of the Deep South, the heartland of the Civil War; and journeys to the remarkable wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Yet it is through the people he meets that Watson discovers the incomparable genius of America, its optimism, sophistication and riches - and also its darker side, its disavowal of failure and uncertainty.
'... American Journeys investigates the meaning of the United States: its confidence, its religion, its heroes, its violence, and its material obsessions. The things that make America great are also its greatest flaws.' (Publisher's blurb)
'"I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."
'In TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Isobel Callaghan is struggling to make a career as a writer in Sydney. She is isolated, poor and hungry, and fears she’s going mad. Leaving her room in a boarding house in search of food, she has a breakdown on the way to the corner shop.
'Waking in hospital, Isobel learns that she will be confined to a sanatorium in the Blue Mountains. There, among the motley assortment of patients, and with the aid of great works of literature, she will confront the horrors of her past. But can she find a way to face the future?
'Confronting and compassionate, profound and funny, the second Isobel Callaghan novel is every bit as brilliant as its much-loved predecessor. It confirmed Amy Witting as one of the finest Australian writers of her time. ' (Text Classic summary)
'Memorials to Australian participation in wars abound in our landscape. From Melbourne's huge Shrine of Remembrance to the modest marble soldier, obelisk or memorial hall in suburb and country town, they mourn and honour Australians who have served and died for their country. Surprisingly, they have largely escaped scrutiny. Ken Inglis argues that the imagery, rituals and rhetoric generated around memorials constitute a civil religion, a cult of ANZAC. Sacred Places traces three elements which converged to create the cult: the special place of war in the European mind when nationalism was at its zenith; the colonial condition; and the death of so many young men in distant battle, which impelled the bereaved to make substitutes for the graves of which history had deprived them. The 'war memorial movement' attracted conflict as well as commitment. Inglis looks at uneasy acceptance, even rejection, of the cult by socialists, pacifists, feminists and some Christians, and at its virtual exclusion of Aborigines. He suggests that between 1918 and 1939 the making, dedication and use of memorials enhanced the power of the right in Australian public life. Finally, he examines a paradox. Why, as Australia's wars recede in public and private memory, and as a once British Australia becomes multicultural, have the memorials and what they stand for become more cherished than ever? Sacred Places spans war, religion, politics, language and the visual arts. Ken Inglis has distilled new cultural understandings from a familiar landscape.' (Publication summary)
'At once humorous and dramatic, Three Dollars is about Eddie, an honest, compassionate man who finds himself, at the age of 38, with a wife, a child and three dollars. How did he get that way? And who is Amanda? He cared about people; he was, Amanda notwithstanding, a good husband, father and son. At any other time the world would have smiled on him. But this was the nineties and the world valued other things. Three Dollars chronicles the present breach of the social contract and its effect on a home near you. It is a brilliantly deft portrait of a man attempting to retain his humanity, his family and his sense of humour in grim and pitiless times: times of downsizing, outsourcing and privatising. It is about the legacy of Thatcherism and its effects on people and their relationships.' (Synopsis)
'Snake Cradle is the first volume of Roberta Sykes's three volume autobiography, Snake Dreaming. Snake Cradle chronicles the early years of one of Australia's best known activists for Aboriginal rights, from the time of her birth in Townsville in the 1940s through to the birth of her son when she was 17, and the trial of the men who raped her.
Roberta's voice is strong and true as she describes far north Queensland of the time, her battles with a series of childhood illnesses, and her growing awareness that hers was not an ordinary Australian childhood. Born to a white mother and a father whose identity she did not know, her passion and commitment to the struggles of the Aboriginal people was shaped by the racism her dark skin invoked. A powerful and moving autobiography about a history that must never be forgotten.' (Allen and Unwin)
'Tracing the lead-up to and aftermath of a bloody showdown when the superintendent of a Queensland mission goes on a murderous rampage.
'In 1930 the superintendent of a mission on a Queensland island, driven mad by his wife’s death, goes on a murderous rampage. Fearing for their lives, the other whites arm a young Indigenous man and order him to shoot Uncle Boss dead.
'The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow traces the lead-up to this bloody showdown and the repercussions in the years after - for Aboriginal people and the colonial overseers.' (Publication summary)
'Vera and Mr George have made a new life together but Vera's thoughts return again and again to loves and lovers, meetings and partings - the voices that echo in the mind like music. What has she learned from the well-bred peace of the Georges' household; the decadence and disorder of her friendship with Noel and Felicity: the fun and vulgarity shared with her 'widow' on the long voyage to Australia? Must we always repeat the past?'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'Stories told from the point of view of Beatie, a young girl growing up in Brisbane, (Publication summary)recreate family relationships and trace the path from adolescence to adulthood.'
'Mr Scobie's arrival at the nursing home of St Christopher and St Jude - and descent into the clutches of Matron Hyacinth Price - is accidental. Adrift in his own memories but preserving a gentle politesse, Mr Scobie stands apart from the others.
'For long-term resident and eccentric, Miss Hailey, he represents a kindred spirit; for Matron Price - a lady of questionable practices - the latest victim.
'This bleakly comic investigation of old age, exile and displacement shows Elizabeth Jolley at her finest. It is written with wry humour, melancholy and great warmth.'
Source: Publisher's blurb (Modern Classics ed.).
'A Woman of the Future, first published in 1979, was David Ireland’s best-selling sixth novel and his third to win the Miles Franklin Award.
'An imaginative tour de force, it is the story of the young life of Anthea Hunt—from conception to sexual awakening. It is controversial and brilliant, and unlike anything else in Australian literature.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)
'It could almost have been their own country: these sections with the gums briefly framed like a traditional oil painting by the slowly passing window. The colours were as brown and parched; that chaff-coloured grass, Ah, this dun-coloured realism. Any minute now the cry of the crow or a cockatoo; but no.
'Thirteen men and women travel the world on a package tour but wherever they go nothing is as it seems.
'Challenged by the unexpected, by differences and subtleties, Bail’s tourists are in turn repelled and attracted—and all are altered.' (Publication summary)
'The charismatic god-king Sukarno has brought Indonesia to the edge of chaos - to an abortive revolution that will leave half a million dead. For the Western correspondents here, this gathering apocalypse is their story and their drug, while the sufferings of the Indonesian people are scarcely real: a shadow play. Working at the eye of the storm are television correspondent Guy Hamilton and his eccentric cameraman Billy Kwan. In Kwan's secret fantasy life, both Sukarno and Hamilton are heroes. But his heroes betray him, and Billy is driven to desperate action. As the Indonesian shadow play erupts into terrible reality, a complex personal tragedy of love, obsession and betrayal comes to its climax.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.Award shared with Patsy Adam-Smith, The Anzacs
'Gallipoli was the final resting place for thousands of young Australians. Death struck so fast there was not time for escape or burial. And when Gallipoli was over there was the misery of the European Campaign. Patsy Adam-Smith read over 8000 diaries and letters to write her acclaimed best-seller about the First World War. Soldiers sought her out to tell her why they went, what they saw, and how they felt about that great holocaust. Their simple accounts are more vivid than any novel; the years have not dimmed their memories of lost comrades and the horrors of war. These are the extraordinary experiences of ordinary men - and they strike to the heart. The Anzacs remains unrivalled as the classic account of Australia's involvement in the First World War.' (Publisher's blurb)Award shared with Christopher Koch, The Year of Living Dangerously
'Graham Freudenberg's inside account of Gough Whitlam's political rise and fall is one of the great classics of Australian political writing. From his position as Gough's speechwriter and confidant, just out of the spotlight of history, Freudenberg was an eyewitness to Gough's spectacular rise and fall, which he documents with compelling drama. But A Certain Grandeur's most significant achievement is to capture so vividly the character of the man - dictatorial, petulant, erudite, revolutionary.
'This new edition has been updated to include the Labor Party's regeneration following the Dismissal, and to lay to rest myths about Gough and his government's achievements that have prevailed in the three decades since, including those surrounding what has become one of the most controversial legacies: East Timor.' (From the publisher's website, 2009 rev.ed.)
'I told them to go into the scrub and disperse the tribe.
Disperse? That is a strange word. What do you mean by dispersing?
Firing at them.
'Two decades after a massacre of local Aboriginal people, the former residents of a Queensland town have reunited to celebrate the progress and prosperity of their community. Tom Dorahy, returning to his hometown, is having none of it: he wants those responsible to own up to their actions. A reckoning with oppression, guilt and the weight of the past, A Kindness Cup is one of Thea Astley’s greatest achievements.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.