Published by Affirm Press in April 2017
Pip and Shannon dreamed of living the good life.
They wanted to slow down, grow their own food and spend more time with the people they love. But jobs and responsibilities got in the way: their chooks died, their fruit rotted, and Pip ended up depressed and in therapy. So they did the only reasonable thing – they quit their jobs, pulled the children out of school and went searching for la dolce vita in Italy.
One Italian Summer is a warm, funny and poignant story of a family’s search for a better way of living, in the homes and on the farms of strangers. Pip sleeps in a tool shed, feasts under a Tuscan sun, works like a tractor in Calabria and, eventually, finds the good life she’s always dreamed of – though not at all where she expected.
By Annah Faulkner
Published by Picador, 2015The title of this book is portentous and I began reading with an expectation that something explosive would happen. It did, and sooner than I thought. On the first page a stick of dynamite is wedged into the stubborn roots of a camphor laurel tree, because despite its hacking it would not die, ‘a tiny green shoot had sprung from its stump’. A metaphor surely, of hope perhaps, or the persistence of truth. By the end of page two the green shoot is gone for good, but the memory of it lives long in the boy who ran from the blast, and it lies like a foundation stone beneath the architecture of this lovely book. The story starts, in earnest, more than thirty years later. Chris is now in his forties and he’s mourning the death of his aunt, and adoptive mother, Jo. Her passing ignites the fuse that drives the narrative of this book. Jo was his mother’s sister, but about her, she spoke very little. She was the keeper of knowledge and the hoarder of secrets. Her death magnifies Chris’s feeling that he doesn’t really know who he is, and … Continue Reading ››
By Emily Bitto
Published by Affirm Press, 2014Who hasn’t imagined themselves part of a world more exiting, more colourful, more sensual, or perhaps, more dangerous than their own? 1930s Australia is a bland and conservative place, subdued by economic depression, isolation and censorship. For an adolescent Lilly, becoming friends with Eva is like glimpsing the colourful spectrum of ordinary light as it passes through a shard of broken glass. Eva is the middle daughter of Helena and Evan Trentham. He is a well-known avant-garde painter; she has a glamour that rebels against the restraint of the times and separates her from the other mothers, who dote earnestly on their children and keep tidy hours and tidy homes. The Trentham home is old and expansive; the architecture of the house, and the people within it, is ramshackle. But inside and out Helena cultivates a kind of unrestrained beauty; bringing artists together with the same eye that nurtures wild growth in her garden. Lilly is drawn into the life of the Trentham’s like a stray is drawn towards food. She skulks on the edge of that life, observing, but unobserved. She collects the crumbs of hedonistic abandon: moments of attention; fragments of … Continue Reading ››