Clarke by Holly Throsby
If you assumed that by writing three novels in the evocative-smallish-Australian-
Loosely inspired by the Lynette Dawson murder investigation, Clarke begins on a hot morning in 1991 when Barney Clarke is woken by the unexpected arrival of many policemen: they are going to search his backyard for the body of a missing woman. Like Goodwood and Cedar Valley that came before it, what makes Clarke so damn good and engrossing is the connection the reader has to the story's familiar but fictitious town, to its quirky residents and their inner lives. Come for the '90s references and slow-burn mystery, stay for the vivid characters Throsby has created to deftly explore themes of pain, compassion and humanity.
Ghost Music by An Yu
If you think the ideal novel should contain atmosphere, surrealism, mystery, music and a side of mushrooms, then An Yu's second novel will be right up your street. Ghost Music follows a former concert pianist searching for the truth about a vanished musician, put simply. Put complicatedly, the novel is also about a mysterious parcel of mushrooms native to the main character's mother-in-law's Chinese province that show up on her doorstep and the ways in which this event alters her life. Best to go in blind! Exploring ideas of art and expression, grief and survival, memory and self-discovery, we were totally enchanted by this original and meditative novel.
Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth
A laugh-out-loud horror story about a ghost mother-in-law? What fun! Motherthing is the story of an impossible and cruel mother-in-law who must move in with her son and daughter-in-law because of severe depression, who then takes her own life in their home (heads up, very messy) and, once dead, proceeds to haunt them. With echoes of Nightbitch, this not-for-the-fainthearted novel is as profane as it is gruesome, as intelligent as it is macabre. Beyond the many laughs the book elicits, Motherthing is also a sincere consideration of motherhood and trauma. Lastly, we must commend the excellent tagline: 'She’s dead in the basement… and she’s refusing to leave’.
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