Peggy Frew

A compassionate and surprisingly funny novel that is impossible to put down and even harder to forget, from the award-winning author of Islands.

Meg and Nina are two sisters living very different lives. Meg is super organised and possibly OCD; Nina is so depressed she is living like a homeless person in her own flat and feels as though she has lost control of her life. As a result she has become estranged from her family. But when Meg’s repeated attempts to make contact with her eventually succeed, Nina can’t refuse her request to head north with her and their younger sister Amber, whose drug addictions have torn the family apart.

What follows is a surprisingly funny and deeply moving novel about family and sisters and how we each deal with the catastrophes life throws our way. Peggy is the consummate observer of human frailty and in Wildflowers she has created a compassionate and forensically observed family drama that is impossible to put down and even harder to forget.

Praise for Islands

‘An unforgettable portrait of youth and family disintegration, told with piercing insight and tenderness. Peggy Frew is a rare and precious talent.’ Kristina Olsson, author of Shell

‘This novel knows, at its heart, that stories always belong to more than one person. Rich, complex and properly thought-provoking, it is Peggy Frew’s finest work to date.’ Tegan Bennett Daylight, author of The Details

‘Islands is a riveting and brilliant portrait of a family in crisis.’ The Age

‘Frew has fashioned another heartbreaker . . . the scattered chronology plays with the tragic inevitability of damaged people hurting others. Just the tip of an iceberg of sadness is glimpsed, and the story is the more powerful for its restraint.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Frew’s talent for descriptive prose and psychogeography is evident throughout . . . her experimentation makes Islands stand out, puncturing the narrative at key moments before exploding the notion of the Family Story. Her writing verges on the sublime.’ The Saturday Paper

‘Overwhelming . . . a deep and meditative piece of literature. As we watch the family unravel, we are all the time hoping that Anna will come back, that this catastrophe can be fixed . . . utterly engrossing.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

‘In this multi-voiced story, Frew’s outstanding ability to empathise with characters who are unable to empathise with each other shines through . . . a work of great compassion and insight.’ Books + Publishing

‘A beautiful study of sorrow that describes the disintegration of a family and the ongoing trauma of a disappearance.’ Readings

Modern & Contemporary Fiction

Peggy Frew

Peggy Frew’s first novel, House of Sticks, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Victorian Writer, and was shortlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Prize for New Writing. Hope Farm, her second novel, won the Barbara Jefferis Award, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her third novel, Islands, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2, Kill Your Darlings, Meanjin and The Big Issue. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting. Wildflowers is her fourth novel.

Allen & Unwin

Allen & Unwin is Australia’s leading independent publisher and is the 2020 Publisher of the Year, a title we’ve now held fourteen times. Our lists are unrivalled in scope and quality, our focus on original ideas and voices, and our acclaimed authors and titles amongst Australia’s best.