'What would make a soldier betray his country?
'In the battle-smoke and chaos of Gallipoli, a young New Zealand soldier helps a Turkish doctor fighting to save a boy's life. Then a shell bursts nearby; the blast that should have killed them both consigns them instead to the same military hospital.
'Mahmoud is a Sufi. A whirling dervish, he says, of the Mevlevi order. He tells David stories. Of arriving in London with a pocketful of dried apricots. Of Majnun, the man mad for love, and of the saint who flew to paradise on a lion skin. You are God, we are all gods, Mahmoud tells David; and a bond grows between them.
'A bond so strong that David will betray his country for his friend.' (From the publisher's website.)
'On an electric night in 1954, Evdokia Petrov, a Russian intelligence worker from the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, arrives at Mascot Aerodrome as a prisoner of her colleagues. Her husband has defected. She is returning to Moscow where under Soviet law, she will be punished for his crime. A novel from the shadows, Document Z draws the story of the Petrov Affair from ASIO's archive of the event. It is a tale of lies and betrayal, the Cold War on Australian soil.'
Source: Allen & Unwin website, http://www.allenandunwin.com/
'In the magnificent opening story, "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice," a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam - and what seems at first a satire on turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. "Cartagena" provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In "Meeting Elise" an ageing New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.' (From the author's website.)
Swallow the Air follows the life of 15-year-old May Gibson, an Aboriginal girl from New South Wales whose mother commits suicide. May and her brother go to live with their aunt, but eventually May travels further afield, first to Redfern's Block in Sydney, then to the Northern Territory, and finally into central New South Wales. She travels to escape, but also in pursuit of a sense of her own history, family, and identity.
'When Kelvin returns to his childhood home on the southern coast of New South Wales, he discovers the town is a haven for people like him who are on the run from their pasts. He meets Jessica, a lawyer who has escaped the city, and Carl, an enigmatic American farmer. Both are pursuing new lives and causes inspired by the extraordinary landscape around them. But Kelvin begins to see the darker side of the environmental debate when he becomes drawn into a community of anti-logging activists. As his relationship with Jessica intensifies and implodes, it provokes Kelvin to make a decision with devastating consequences for all of them. No-one is quite who they seem as, deep in these southern forests, the story builds to a dramatic climax.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.