Australian fiction to pick up this month
Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko
When Mulanyin meets the beautiful Nita in Edenglassie, their saltwater people still outnumber the British. As colonial unrest peaks, Mulanyin dreams of taking his bride home to Yugambeh Country, but his plans for independence collide with white justice.
Two centuries later, fiery activist Winona meets Dr Johnny. Together they care for obstinate centenarian Grannie Eddie, and sparks fly, but not always in the right direction. What nobody knows is how far the legacies of the past will reach into their modern lives.
Green Dot by Madeleine Gray
Hera Stephen is clawing through her mid-twenties, working as an underpaid comment moderator in an overly air-conditioned newsroom by day and kicking around Sydney with her two best friends by night. Instead of money or stability, she has so far accrued one ex-girlfriend, several hundred hangovers, and a dog-eared novel collection.
While everyone around her seems to have slipped effortlessly into adulthood, Hera has spent the years since school caught between feeling that she is purposefully rejecting traditional markers of success to forge a life of her own and wondering if she's actually just being left behind. Then she meets Arthur, an older, married colleague. Intoxicated by the promise of ordinary happiness he represents, Hera falls headlong into a workplace romance that everyone, including her, knows is doomed to fail.
Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton
A girl and her mother are on the lam. They've been running for sixteen years, from police and the monster they left in the kitchen with the knife in his throat. They've found themselves a home inside an orange 1987 Toyota HiAce van with four flat tyres parked in a scrapyard by the edge of the Brisbane River.
The girl has no name because names are dangerous when you're on the run. But the girl has a dream. A vision of a life as a groundbreaking artist of international acclaim. A life outside the grip of the Brisbane underworld drug queen 'Lady' Flora Box. A life of love with the boy in the brown suit who's waiting for her in the middle of the bridge that stretches across a flooding and deadly river. A life far beyond the bullet that has her name on it.
Prima Facie by Suzie Miller
Tessa is a thoroughbred. A young, brilliant barrister. She has worked her way up from a working-class background to be at the top of her game: defending, cross-examining and lighting up the shadows of doubt in any case. Her masterful line of questioning in the courtroom has netted Tessa win after win, freeing men accused of rape and sexual assault. As controversial as it is, this is her job - it's just about the facts and who can game the system.
Working late one night, Tessa falls into a casual relationship with Julian, a coworker, an attorney who comes from an elite, wealthy family. A light-hearted affair, with a man she admires. She begins to wonder if perhaps there is a future for the two of them. One sickening night, though, Julian makes a choice and Tessa finds herself in a position countless women - one in three - have before her. And she's faced with a gut-wrenching, life-changing decision.
The Opposite of Success by Eleanor Elliott Thomas
Council employee Lorrie Hope has a great partner, two adorable kids and absolutely no idea what to do with her life. This Friday, she's hoping for change- it's launch day for her big work project, and she's applied for a promotion she's not entirely sure she wants. Meanwhile, her best friend, Alex, is stuck in a mess involving Lorrie's rakish ex, Ruben-or, more accurately, his wife. Oh, and Ruben's boss happens to be the mining magnate Sebastian Glup, who is sponsoring Lorrie's project...
As the day spirals from bad to worse to frankly unhinged, Lorrie and Alex must reconsider what they can expect from life, love and middle management.
Gunflower: Stories by Laura Jean McKay
The brilliant new short story collection from the Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of The Animals in That Country.
A family of cat farmers gets the chance to set the felines free. A group of chickens tells it like it is. A female-crewed ship ploughs through the patriarchy. A support group finds solace in a world without men.
With her trademark humour, energy, and flair, McKay offers hallucinogenic glimpses of places where dreams subsume reality, where childhood restarts, where humans embrace their animal selves and animals talk like humans.
The stories in Gunflower explode and bloom in mesmerising ways, showing the world both as it is and as it could be.
Body Friend by Katherine Brabon
A woman leaves the hospital after an operation and starts swimming in a pool in Melbourne's inner suburbs. There she meets Frida, who is uncannily like her in her experience of illness. Soon after, she meets another woman in a local park, Sylvia, who sees her pain and encourages her to rest.
The two new friends seem to be polar opposites: Frida adores the pool and the natural world, Sylvia clings to the protection of interior worlds. What begins as two seemingly simple friendships is challenged by what each woman asks of her, of themselves, and their bodies.
Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood
A woman abandons her city life and marriage to return to the place she grew up, finding solace in a small religious community hidden away on the stark plains of the Monaro. She does not believe in God, doesn't know what prayer is, and finds herself living this strange, reclusive life almost by accident. As she gradually adjusts to the rhythms of monastic life, she ruminates on her childhood in the nearby town. She finds herself turning again and again to thoughts of her mother, whose early death she can't forget.
Disquiet interrupts this secluded life with three visitations. First comes a terrible mouse plague, each day signalling a new battle against the rising infestation. Second is the return of the skeletal remains of a sister who left the community decades before to minister to deprived women in Thailand - then disappeared, presumed murdered. Finally, a troubling visitor to the monastery pulls the narrator further back into her past.
The Naturalist of Amsterdam by Melissa Ashley
At the turn of the 18th century, Amsterdam is at the centre of an intellectual revolution, with artists and scientists racing to record the wonders of the natural world. Of all the brilliant naturalists in Europe, Maria Sibylla Merian is one of its brightest stars.
For as long as she can remember, Dorothea Graff's life has been lived in service to her mother, Maria. While Dorothea longs for a life that is truly her own, she constantly finds herself drawn back into her mother's world - and shadow. When Maria becomes entranced by the plant and insect life of Suriname, she is determined to record it for herself. At just twenty years old, Dorothea decides to join her on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. All the family's savings are ploughed into the dangerous expedition, but greatness is never achieved without sacrifice.
Paradise Estate by Max Easton
It’s 2022 and Helen is starting again. Newly single, adrift in a hostile rental market, she finds a four-bedroom house flanked by apartment blocks that stare into the yard. Despite the lack of privacy, she fills its rooms with an unlikely group of residents looking for communal belonging: a zine maker working on a punk music archive; an activist writing about Australian anti-communism; a research scientist striving to put down roots; and a part-time rugby league player who has one chance to play for his country before retirement. Each is looking to build a future, each is haunted by their recent past. But if a rented house in Sydney could ever promise salvation, it would come with a coating of black mould.