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Biography, Literature & Literary studies


by Frew, Peggy

A stunning literary novel from the author of the Stella Prize shortlisted Hope Farm.

One family: Helen and John and their daughters Junie and Anna. Helen falls out of love with John, leaves, finds someone else, then a series of others, not paying enough attention to her daughters along the way. John is consumed by jealousy and hopelessness and in his self-absorption also fails to notice signals from the girls. Junie grows up brittle and defensive, Anna difficult and rebellious.

One tragedy: When 15-year-old Anna fails to come home one night, her mother's unconcerned, as she's done it before and always returned, so it takes three days for her to report it. But this time she doesn't come back... Anna has disappeared and the remaining family members spend the rest of their lives trying to make up for her devastating loss. Each of them must find their own way to cope.

In the tradition of the novels of Helen Garner, Georgia Blain and Ashley Hay, Islands is a riveting portrait of a family coping with loss.

PEGGY FREW's debut novel, House of Sticks, won the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her story 'Home Visit' won The Age short story competition. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue and Meanjin. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting. Her second novel, Hope Farm, was shortlisted for both the 2016 Miles Franklin Award and the 2016 Stella Prize.

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Elegiac, storied... aligns itself with other novels in which children - out of rashness, anger or even ignorance - act out to terrible consequences. As with Briony in Ian McEwan's Atonement or Leo in L.P. Hartley's The Go-Between, these decisions are usually compounded by circumstance.

Quote: Jessica Au, Sydney Morning Herald

Peggy's voice is contemporary, her observations sharp and sensitive. Hope Farm describes the cycle of loss and damage when there are no boundaries to protect us.

Quote: Sofie Laguna, author of The Eye of the Sheep

Frew is a gifted writer, evidenced here by finely balanced observations and atmospheric description.

Quote: Ed Wright, Weekend Australian

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