Vertigo: Amanda Lohrey

Dogged by ill-health and the impossibility of ever owning their own home, Gen X editors, Anna and Luke, opt out of their Sydney existence. Googling alternatives (their rural idyll must have mobile access and broadband!) they buy a rambling old house in a coastal hamlet, trading trendy eateries and tollways for open skies and abundant bird life. Anna gardens, Luke twitches and both tap away at their laptops, bringing home the bacon from paradise, but there is one thing they hadn’t bargained for: for the first time in their lives, they’re at the mercy of the weather.

As their natural environment comes into sharp focus, memories and grudges emerge. Deftly mining the preoccupations of contemporary middle-class life, the moral of Lohrey’s fable-like novella is an age old one: whether your change is sea or tree, it’s impossible to escape yourself. Though we never get to know Anna and Luke as well as we might like this is a pithy take on urban angst. As the credit and climate crises loom, how and where will we be living in the future?