- Publisher: Catapult (2022-04-26)
- Language: English
- Paperback: 288 pages
- ISBN-13: 9781646221097
- Item Weight: 294.84 grams
- Dimensions: 8.26 x 5.5 x 0.76 cm
Finalist for the 2022 Kirkus Prize for Fiction
Shortlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award
Shortlisted for the 2023 Rathbones Folio Prize
Longlisted for the 2022 Gordon Burn Prize (UK)
A profoundly original exploration of racism, misogyny, and ageism—three monsters that plague the world—this novel from a beloved and prize-winning author is made up of two narratives, each told by a South Asian migrant to Australia
“When my family emigrated it felt as if we’d been stood on our heads.”
Michelle de Kretser’s electrifying take on scary monsters turns the novel upside down, just as migration has upended her characters’ lives.
Lili’s family migrated to Australia from Asia when she was a teenager.
Now, in the 1980s, she’s teaching in the south of France. She makes friends, observes the treatment handed out to North African immigrants, and is creeped out by her downstairs neighbor. All the while, Lili is striving to be A Bold, Intelligent Woman like Simone de Beauvoir.
Lyle works for a sinister government department in near-future Australia. An Asian migrant, he fears repatriation and embraces “Australian values.” He’s also preoccupied by his ambitious wife, his wayward children, and his strong-minded elderly mother. Islam has been banned in the country, the air is smoky from a Permanent Fire Zone, and one pandemic has already run its course.
Three scary monsters—racism, misogyny, and ageism—roam through this mesmerizing novel. Its reversible format enacts the disorientation that migrants experience when changing countries changes the stories of their lives. With this suspenseful, funny, and profound book, Michelle de Kretser has made something thrilling and new.
“Which comes first, the future or the past?”
About the Author
Michelle De Kretser was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her family emigrated to Australia when she was a teenager, and she was educated in Melbourne and Paris. She is the author of five previous novels, including the Miles Franklin Award winners Questions of Travel and The Life to Come, the Man Booker Prize long-listed The Lost Dog, and a novella, Springtime. De Kretser now lives in Sydney with her partner, the poet and translator Chris Andrews. She is an honorary associate of the English department at the University of Sydney.