Kokomo by Victoria Hannan
A buzzy debut novel from the winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. When Mina’s agoraphobic mother Elaine leaves her house for the first time in twelve years, she leaves her life in London and flies home to be with her. But once back in Melbourne, Elaine refuses to speak about her sudden return to the world, nor why she's spent so much time hiding from it. There’s a very specific variety of Melbourne ennui that follows and this affords both Mina and the narrative space to explore the book’s big themes: the many expressions of love; homecoming; loss; familial bonds; what it means to be a daughter; secrets. Hannan writes with a delicate balance of light and dark, rawness and poignancy, that makes reading this novel feel very close to real life.
Living on Stolen Land by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Living on Stolen Land is a prose-styled look at our colonial-settler ‘present’. This book is the first of its kind to address and educate a broad audience about the colonial contextual history of Australia, in a highly original way. It pulls apart the myths at the heart of our nationhood, and challenges Australia to come to terms with its own past and its place within and on ‘Indigenous Countries’.
Simply-grasped and told in stunning prose, this book illuminates huge and important truths. This is a unique, essential and precious book that we think everyone should read!
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
Those who have read Straub before will know that there is something delightful in her brand of dysfunctional domestic drama. In this, her fourth novel, we follow a quirky and endearing cast of characters led by a widowed matriarch reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge. The book is filled with sibling dynamics, love affairs, ticking time clocks and sperm bank babies, sex with exes, as well as more modern topics like shaming, transsexuality and late-in-life sexual fluidity. There is immense warmth and wit to be found in Straub’s writing and there was something so pleasingly escapist about reading her in 2020.