A moving and original debut novel. Observant, warm and extraordinary.
There are few places wilder than Little Rat, a small island in an archipelago off the coast of Western Australia. Beautiful, harsh and lonely, the landscape is still haunted by the many ships that have wrecked on its reefs across the centuries.
Yet it is here that the Saari family try to build their future, thousands of miles from the cold lowlands of Finland. A crayfishing family, Onni and his wife Alva work hard.
Against this spectacular and brutal backdrop, small tragedies and immense joys are shared by the fishing families of Little Rat: Alva makes a perilous journey across rough seas with a tiny newborn baby, where, against all odds, she feels safe; their young daughter Hilda watches as a small boy tumbles from a jetty and very nearly drowns; a mysterious and tortured fisherman rows into the eye of a storm; and Hilda, on the brink of womanhood, comes to know the cruelty and the ecstasy of desire, while distances expand between her and her migrant parents.
Strongly felt, deeply felt, original.'
There is an other-worldly quality about the Abrolhos which is beyond the reach of ordinary storytelling. Emily Brugman has captured them, staked them to the page in all their isolation and aridity and scoured indifference, because her storytelling is extraordinary.'
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Emily Brugman grew up on the far south coast of NSW. Her writing has previously appeared in literary journals, magazines and anthologies. She currently lives in Mullumbimby and works at Byron Writers Festival. Born in Australia, she is of Finnish and Dutch heritage. The Islands is her first novel, and is inspired by her family’s experiences living and working on the Abrolhos Islands between 1959 -1972.
Allen & Unwin
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