Now that the mercury has plummeted through the floor and triggered a mass deficit of electric blankets at Harvey Norman, the only thing left to do is snuggle up with a good book and a hot Milo (that’s one part milk, 6 parts Milo, 9 parts marshmallow).
Fortunately, our very own homegrown literary scene is brimming with pen-wielding authors that’ll have you sobbing into your cornflakes, scoffing audibly on public transport and tripping over your own perpetually dropping jaw. Here are 8 new books from Aussie authors to devour this winter.
The Book Ninja
By Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus
This little page-turner tells the story of an unlucky-in-love reader, writer and romantic who’s desperate to find the Mr Darcy to her Elizabeth. After experiencing her fair share of Tinder nightmares, Frankie Rose decides to take her dating life into her own hands by screening potential soulmates via her favourite medium—books. In order to track down her Romeo, Frankie plants her favourite novels on trains all over Melbourne, inscribed with her email address, in a bid to weasel out the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams. This book is a breeze to read and a laugh a minute for anyone who loves good books, great romances, fantastically clever revenge, or all of the above.
Boy Swallows Universe
By Trent Dalton
This coming of age novel is a story of love, magic, crime and fate, all based in Brisbane’s tumultuous working-class suburban films. It’s all about a boy called Eli with a lost father, a mute brother, an imprisoned mother, a heroin dealing stepfather and a notoriously criminal babysitter. And as if that’s not enough, a love interest, plotted jailbreak and a legendary Brisbane drug dealer called Tytus Broz are about to enter the mix. This will quite possibly be one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters you’ll strap yourself into.
By Enza Gandolfo
Set in 1970s Melbourne, The Bridge is based on the story of a 22-year-old Italian migrant called Antinello who was recently married and works as a rigger on the West Gate Bridge. One morning, the bridge collapses and kills no less than 35 of his workmates and plunges him into a pit of hopelessness. Flash forward to 2009, Jo and her best friend, Ashleigh, are on the brink of finishing high school when one terrible mistake sends Jo’s life through the ringer. This tragic but amazing read draws on a combination of historical events and modern guilt to produce an ode to the resilience of the human spirit.
The Yellow House
By Emily O’Grady
Little ten-year-old Cub lives on a secluded property next to an abandoned cattle farm with her parents and older and twin brothers. For over a decade, the family’s lives have been shadowed by Cub’s late Grandad Les, who used to live in the yellow weatherboard house over the fence before he died twelve years ago. Since his death, the family have been ostracized by the community, but when Cub’s estranged aunt and cousin move into the yellow house, the family secrets begin to bubble to the surface. This novel may be small, but it’s a powerful story of loyalty and betrayal, and the path to redemption.
By Robbie Arnott
Written by new author, Robbie Arnott, Flames is the story of a young man called Levi McAllister who decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte, who then bolts for the hills. And a water rat who swims upriver in search of the cloud god. And a fisherman named Karl who hunts for tuna with a seal. And also a father who takes form from fire. Basically, this is a book of riddles which will be solved within its pages through a tale of grief and love and the bonds of family. It’s a ‘different’ read, but a spellbinding one.
The Unexpected Education Of Emily Dean
By Mira Robertson
The year is 1944 and Melbourne-dweller, Emily Dean, is dispatched to a family property in rural Victoria where she finds her grandmother attempting to keep up standards, despite the effects of war. Things eventually start looking up when Emily meets Claudio, an Italian prisoner of war, who’s been employed as a farm labourer. And things become even more interesting when Emily’s brother returns from war, wounded and bitter. Against all odds, and thanks to a shared passion for literature, the two siblings find themselves growing closer together. Somehow this read is both funny and despairing. Either way, it’s a charming read.
By Jenny Ackland
Set in north-western Victoria, this story is about Olive Lovelock who has just turned twelve and becomes convinced that her old babysitter was murdered. She soon becomes obsessed with the mystery and pursues a relentless quest to solve it, no matter the repercussions for her family and community. Basically, it’s the story of one very messy family and the can of worms that the quest for truth unearths.
The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart
By Holly Ringland
The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart is a romantic story of a young girl, and daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn how to break the patterns of the past and find purpose and confidence within herself. After her family experiences a heartbreaking tragedy when Alice is only nine, she’s forced to move in with her estranged grandmother who raises her on the language of Australian native flowers. But after an unexpected betrayal, Alice moves again to the central Australian desert where she thinks she’s found love in the arms of a charismatically but ultimately dangerous man. The book itself is story about stories, and each is as powerful and gut-wrenching as the one before it.
Image credit: Anthony Tran