Seven Australian debut novels to read in April

There are so many wonderful works of Australian fiction to celebrate in April. Here, we collect together seven first-time novels from local authors.


For a fun, sexy, summer read…

The Adversary by Ronnie Scott

In a creaky house in Brunswick, a young man has devoted himself to recreational showers, staring at his phone, and speculating on the activities of his best friend and housemate, Dan. But now summer is coming, and Dan has found a boyfriend and a job, so the young man is being pushed out into the world, in search of friendship and love. The Adversary is an intelligent, funny novel about young people exploring their sexuality and their sociability, where everything smells like sunscreen and tastes like beer, but affections and alliances have consequences.


For a quirky literary detective tale…

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme is born into a world of words, spending her childhood in the ‘Scriptorium' – a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words.


For an immersive tale of the power of the natural world…

The Octopus and I by Erin Hortle

Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula near Eaglehawk Neck, where Lucy is recovering from major surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body through the world, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses, and in doing so finds herself drawn towards the friendship of an old woman and her son. As the story unfolds, the octopuses come to shape Lucy’s body and her sense of self in ways even she can’t quite understand.


For a tense, relentlessly paced read…

Sheerwater by Leah Swann

Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home in Sheerwater, hopeful of making a fresh start in a new town, although Ava can’t but help keep looking over her shoulder. They’re almost at their destination when they witness a shocking accident – a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava stops to help, but when she gets back to the car, she realises that somewhere, amongst the smoke, fire and confusion, her sons have gone missing…


For a moving work of historical fiction…

No Small Shame by Christine Bell

When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, young Catholic Mary O'Donnell’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches of the Great War. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child. Here, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins. When a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice.


For pandemic fiction…

The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay

Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Working as a guide in an outback wildlife park, Jean hears news of a strange pandemic sweeping the country that allows humans to understand the language of animals. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean’s infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin.


For a quirky, rewarding read…

The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Hilde Hinton

Miss Kaye works at The Institute. This is a place for the damaged, the outliers, the not-quite rights and while everyone has different strategies to deal with the residents (yelling, endless negotiations) Miss Kaye has found that simply being herself works best. Susie was seven when she decided she’d had her fill of character-building. Since she was seven, Susie has hated going to see her mum at the mind hospital. As the years passed, there were so many things Susie wanted to say but never could. Throughout the novel, these two lives intersect in clever and moving ways.

The Octopus and I

The Octopus and I

Erin Hortle

$29.99Buy now

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