The Age's recommended books of 2018

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison

Behrouz Boochani, Omid Tofighian

An account of life inside Manus detention centre, from journalist and asylum-seeker Behrouz Boochani.  

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 Read reviewStaying: A Memoir

Staying: A Memoir

Jessie Cole

A searing memoir by acclaimed novelist Jessie Cole, about surviving the suicide of loved ones, and finding a place to heal.

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 Read reviewToo Much Lip

Too Much Lip

Melissa Lucashenko

A dark and funny new novel from the multi-award-winning author of Mullumbimby.

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 Read reviewThe Arsonist

The Arsonist

Chloe Hooper

On the day that became known as Black Saturday, one man deliberately lit two fires near the small town of Churchill, Gippsland, then stood on the roof of his house and watched the flames. The Arsonist, by the acclaimed author of...

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 Read reviewAxiomatic

Axiomatic

Maria Tumarkin

Winner of the Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award 2018This boundary-shifting fusion of thinking, storytelling, and meditation takes as its starting point five axioms:‘Give Me a Child...

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Less

Less

Andrew Sean Greer

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, Less is the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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 Special priceAny Ordinary Day

Any Ordinary Day

Leigh Sales

As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories - and a terrifying brush with her own mortality -...

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 Read reviewTerra Nullius

Terra Nullius

Claire G. Coleman

In the near future Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? A daring debut novel from the winner of the 2016 black&write! writing fellowship.

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The Overstory

The Overstory

Richard Powers

The endlessly fascinating new novel from one of the greatest living American novelists.

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 Read reviewDraw Your Weapons

Draw Your Weapons

Sarah Sentilles

Draw Your Weapons stirs and confronts, disturbs and illuminates. A single book might not change the world, but this utterly original meditation on art and war might transform the way you see the world-and that makes all the...

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 Special price Read reviewThe Shepherd's Hut

The Shepherd’s Hut

Tim Winton

The Shepherd's Hut is an exquisite, brutal coming of age novel. It tells the story of Jaxie, a boy on the run from his past, and explores the way love and hate combine to form a young man's beliefs.

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 Read reviewWarlight

Warlight

Michael Ondaatje

A mesmerising new novel from the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient.

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A Horse Walks into a Bar

A Horse Walks into a Bar

David Grossman, Jessica Cohen

Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn't know whether to laugh or cry - and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is...

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 Read reviewBorder Districts

Border Districts

Gerald Murnane

A new work by a master of contemporary Australian fiction, highly regarded overseas, but little-known here. Giramondo's publication of Border Districts, and the retrospective volume Collected Short Fiction (early next year) is a...

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 Read reviewDeep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia

Billy Griffiths

'People would have known about Australia before they saw it. Smoke billowing above the sea spoke of a land that lay beyond the horizon. A dense cloud of migrating birds may have pointed the way. But the first Australians were...

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 Read reviewConvenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori

The Japanese literary sensation about an unconventional woman who finds happiness in a Tokyo convenience store.

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 Read reviewHome Fire

Home Fire

Kamila Shamsie

A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide - confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times.

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 Read reviewFlames

Flames

Robbie Arnott

Two siblings traverse the southern island to try to find their way back to each other in this tale about grief and love and the bonds of family.

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Blakwork

Blakwork

Alison Whittaker

A stunning mix of memoir, reportage, fiction, satire, and critique composed by a powerful new voice in poetry. Alison Whittaker's Blakwork is an original and unapologetic collection from which two things emerge; an...

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 Read reviewThe Nowhere Child

The Nowhere Child

Christian White

On a break between teaching photography classes, Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger investigating the disappearance of a little girl from her Kentucky home twenty-eight years earlier. He believes she is that girl.

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 Read reviewA Superior Spectre

A Superior Spectre

Angela Meyer

A Superior Spectre is a highly accomplished debut novel about our capacity for curiosity, and our dangerous entitlement to it, and reminds us the scariest ghosts aren't those that go bump in the night, but those that are born and...

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 Read reviewNormal People

Normal People

Sally Rooney

When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a...

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Motherhood

Motherhood

Sheila Heti

A provocative novel about the desire and duty to procreate, from the author of the critically acclaimed How Should A Person Be?

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Sabrina

Sabrina

Nick Drnaso

When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships...

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 Read reviewFrom the Wreck

From the Wreck

Jane Rawson

‘It's hard to find the right words to praise this novel. I think we need a whole new critical vocabulary to be invented. Rawson recreates a vanished historical world with utterly convincing characters as well as inhabits the...

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 Special price Read reviewShell

Shell

Kristina Olsson

A big, bold and hauntingly beautiful story that captures a defining moment in Australia's history.

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Pachinko

Pachinko

Min Jin Lee

A victorian epic transplanted to Japan, following a Korean family of immigrants through eight decades and four generations.

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Traumata

Traumata

Meera Atkinson

In this extraordinary book, Meera Atkinson explores the ways trauma reverberates over a lifetime, unearthing the traumatic roots of our social structures and our collective history. 

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The Library Book

The Library Book

Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to the beloved institution of libraries.

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Trick of the Light

Trick of the Light

Laura Elvery

An art teacher sends four of her students on a guerrilla mission. A young runner struggles to make sense of his best friend's death. A health-food company adopts a farcical promotional strategy. A factory worker spends her days...

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The Drover's Wives: 99 Reinterpretations of Henry Lawson's Australian Classic

The Drover’s Wives: 99 Reinterpretations of Henry Lawson’s Australian Classic

Ryan O'Neill

Henry Lawson's short story `The Drover's Wife' is an Australian classic that has sparked interpretations on the page, on canvas and on the stage. But it has never been so thoroughly, or hilariously, reimagined as by Ryan O'Neill,...

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Coach Fitz

Coach Fitz

Tom Lee

One of the strangest and most appealing novels you will read this year!

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 Read reviewThe Life to Come

The Life to Come

Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser's fifth novel is both a delicious satire on the way we live now and a deeply moving examination of the true nature of friendship.

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 Special price Read reviewPulse Points: Stories

Pulse Points: Stories

Jennifer Down

Pulse Points is the collected stories by Jennifer Down, author of Our Magic Hour and one of Australia's newest and most promising literary talents.

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones

A subversive, entertaining noir novel from the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

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 Read reviewWintering

Wintering

Krissy Kneen

From 2018 Stella Prize-shortlistee Krissy Kneen, an evocative and mysterious novel about inexplicable disappearances and thylacines set in the remote south of Tasmania

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 Read reviewThe Whole Bright Year

The Whole Bright Year

Debra Oswald

From the creator of ‘Offspring' and author of Useful, a gripping, wry and tender novel about how holding on too tightly can cost us what we love.

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 Read reviewThe Rapids: Ways of Looking at Mania

The Rapids: Ways of Looking at Mania

Sam Twyford-Moore

Writing and mental illness make excellent bedfellows, for better or worse. The Rapids is an extraordinary personal memoir peppered with film and literary criticism, as well as family history. It manages to be both a wild ride and...

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 Read reviewTeacher: One Woman's Struggle to Keep the Heart in Teaching

Teacher: One Woman’s Struggle to Keep the Heart in Teaching

Gabbie Stroud

A woman's struggle to keep the heart in teaching

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A Life of My Own

A Life of My Own

Claire Tomalin

A memoir that follows Claire Tomalin through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant...

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 Special price Read reviewNine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? 

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Men We Reaped: A Memoir

Men We Reaped: A Memoir

Jesmyn Ward

A memoir that examines rural poverty and the lingering strains of racism in the south by the prize-winning author of Salvage the Bones.

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The Man on the Mantlepiece: A Memoir

The Man on the Mantlepiece: A Memoir

Marion May Campbell

During a 1952 electric storm off Wattamolla NSW a waterspout drew in the CSIRO Cloud Physics Dakota, atomising all those aboard, including the writer's father. Or did it? When his living body has disappeared, what to...

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True Stories: The Collected Short Non-Fiction

True Stories: The Collected Short Non-Fiction

Helen Garner

Spanning forty years of work, True Stories is the collected essays, stories and diary entries of one of Australia's greatest writers

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Do Oysters Get Bored?

Do Oysters Get Bored?

Rozanna Lilley

A baby cries; a mother exits, leaving her family behind; a child finally begins to talk; a father stops breathing. Rozanna Lilley is a social anthropologist, autism researcher, and Oscar's mum. Oscar is on the autism...

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 Read reviewThe Last Garden

The Last Garden

Eva Hornung

From the author of the award-winning Dog Boy, a powerful literary work about frailty, redemption, and the healing power of animals.

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Godsend

Godsend

John Wray

Inspired by the story of John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, Whiting Award winner John Wray explores the circumstances that could impel a young American to exchange identity, home, and to become an Islamist militant --

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 Special price Read reviewThe Silence of the Girls

The Silence of the Girls

Pat Barker

The legend of The Iliad retold from the perspective of a woman: queen turned war prize, witness to history.

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 Read reviewAlways Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home

Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home

Sisonke Msimang

A moving portrait of the life journey and all the romance, heartache and grief that has helped to make Sisonke Msimang the writer, activist, mother and woman she is today.

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The Fact of a Body

The Fact of a Body

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

The gripping true story of a young law student, an unspeakable crime and a past that refuses to stay buried.

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Milkman

Milkman

Anna Burns

This beautiful and painful novel by Orange Prize shortlisted Anna Burns blends shades of early Edna O'Brien with Eimear McBride's exquisite ability to capture voice.    

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 Read reviewSmall Wrongs: How we really say sorry in love, life and law

Small Wrongs: How we really say sorry in love, life and law

Kate Rossmanith

H is for Hawk meets Helen Garner: this fascinating memoir brings extraordinary insight to the huge topics of justice, love and remorse.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape

Sohaila Abdulali

Neither a memoir nor an academic study but a deeply personal and meticulously researched rallying cry and required reading for us all.

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Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want

Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want

Ruby Tandoh

Think about that first tickle of hunger in your stomach. A moment ago, you could have been thinking about anything, but now it's thickly buttered marmite toast, a frosty scoop of ice cream straight from the tub, some creamy,...

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One Hundred Years of Dirt

One Hundred Years of Dirt

Rick Morton

Social mobility is not a train you get to board after you've scraped together enough for the ticket. You have to build the whole bloody engine, with nothing but a spoon and hand-me-down psychological distress.

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The Bible in Australia: A cultural history

The Bible in Australia: A cultural history

Meredith Lake

Tells the revelatory story of the Bible in Australia, from the convict era to the Mabo land rights campaign, Nick Cave, the Bra Boys and beyond. At a time when public discussion of religion is deeply polarised, Meredith Lake...

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 Read reviewThe Fireflies of Autumn: And Other Tales of San Ginese

The Fireflies of Autumn: And Other Tales of San Ginese

Moreno Giovannoni

Tuscany as you have never seen it before . . .

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 Read reviewThe World Was Whole

The World Was Whole

Fiona Wright

The follow-up to Fiona Wright's essay collection Small Acts of Disappearance - winner of the Nita B. Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for Non-fiction, shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the NSW Premier's Award for...

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 Special priceSpeaking Up

Speaking Up

Gillian Triggs

As president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs advocated for the disempowered, the disenfranchised, the marginalised. She withstood relentless political pressure and media scrutiny as she defended the defenceless for...

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 Read reviewEducated

Educated

Tara Westover

An extraordinary memoir about a woman's discovery of education, its transformative power and the price she has to pay for it.

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 Read reviewEvening in Paradise: More Stories

Evening in Paradise: More Stories

Lucia Berlin

From the author of A Manual for Cleaning Women: a collection of previously un-compiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia Berlin.

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Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia

Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia

Joelle Gergis

What does climate change in Australia really look like?

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Sisters of No Mercy

Sisters of No Mercy

Vincent Silk

Mega-storm Martha has wreaked havoc and it's harder than ever to find a home. Hapless Pinky, Del - mother-hen and mentor - and the ever-resourceful and sometime sleuth Almond are members of Sisters of No Mercy. A band of...

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The Everlasting Sunday

The Everlasting Sunday

Robert Lukins

At once both beautiful and brutal, The Everlasting Sunday is a haunting debut novel about growing up, growing wild and what it takes to survive.

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The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

Judith Brett

Alfred Deakin-scholar, spiritualist, prime minister-was instrumental in creating modern Australia. In the first biography of Deakin in more than half a century, the acclaimed political historian Judith Brett deftly weaves together...

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 Read reviewBoy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe

Trent Dalton

An utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane's violent working class suburban fringe - from one of Australia's most exciting new writers.

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My Antonia

My Antonia

Willa Cather

The final novel in the Great Plains trilogy, this is a celebration of the American midwest with Cather's strongest heroine at its heart.

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 Read reviewOn The Java Ridge

On The Java Ridge

Jock Serong

A literary novel about politics and seeking asylum, with the pace and tension of a political thriller. Plus some of the most compelling writing about the sea since Patrick O'Brian.

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November Road

November Road

Lou Berney

Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centres on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America - a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second...

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West

West

Carys Davies

A spellbinding and timeless tale of isolation, the power of grief and the pull of home.

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On JM Coetzee: Writers on Writers

On JM Coetzee: Writers on Writers

Ceridwen Dovey

'I was born in the year J.M. Coetzee published his third novel, Waiting for the Barbarians. My mother read this dark, disturbing book with its multiple scenes of torture as she breastfed me at night, while my older sister slept...

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 Read reviewOn Borrowed Time

On Borrowed Time

Robert Manne

A stunning new collection of essays from Australia's leading public intellectual.

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Watermark

Watermark

Joanna Atherfold Finn

Rising and recoiling like the ocean, Watermark cracks open the coastal idyll of a quintessentially Australian seaside landscape to reveal shifting sands, fractured relationships, and innocence lost against a backdrop that is...

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Testament

Testament

Kim Sherwood

A prize-winning novel following a young woman uncovering the truth about her family's past in the Hungarian Holocaust.

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 Read reviewOut of the Forest

Out of the Forest

Gregory P. Smith

What makes a man turn his back on society? What makes him return?

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 Read reviewThe Year Everything Changed: 2001

The Year Everything Changed: 2001

Phillipa McGuinness

On New Year's Eve 2001, with her husband by her side, Phillipa McGuinness buried her son. They stood with a young priest in Chua Chu Kang Cemetery and watched a small coffin go into the ground. Later that night, shattered, they...

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