It's been almost three months since Brow Books published Shaun Prescott's debut novel The Town. As well as garnering acclaim locally, the novel has generated interest on an international level – culminating in the sale of its world rights to Faber. We thought this would be a good time to look back at some of the nice things people have said about The Town and its author, simply because: we want you to read this book! It's that good.
This novel signals its author as someone who understands what literature is for. It is one of the strongest and strangest contemporary Australian novels I've seen...It's possible to see the influence of Gerald Murnane in this book, in its style and in its focus on the strangeness of banality, but it's not so much derivativeness as a similarity of vision.
Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald
This is one of those rare books that bothers your thinking by making you feel uncomfortable without necessarily knowing why or how. The aftermath is a kind of free-fall. It’s a remarkable achievement and a testament to how the small publishers rather than the big houses are producing Australia’s best and riskiest fiction.
Ed Wright, The Australian
...a deep dive into weirdness that reads like a blend of Donald Horne and García Márquez ... a gentle, if gnawing, safari of the existential dread on which Australia is built.
The Saturday Paper
The Town is a book about annihilation: not the explosive, memorable kind, but its exact opposite – the annihilation that comes from fading away.
Alex Tighe, Neighbourhood
The Town is understated but compelling; the narrator’s deadpan voice recalls the lone existentialist figures of Sartre’s Nausea and Camus’ The Outsider, but contrasts this with a dream logic reminiscent of Twin Peaks. This is hypnotic literary fiction for readers who make as much meaning from a McDonald’s car park as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sarah Farquharson, Books+Publishing
In its artful, brutal emptiness, The Town is one of the very best books you will read this year.
Joseph Earp, The Brag
If the point of good writing is to put into words that which has not been said before, Shaun Prescott’s The Town surely qualifies. ... It's a damning interrogation of what happens to a place when it forces its citizens into rituals hoping to make meaning from nothing, but it’s never didactic, and always entertaining.
Cameron Colwell, Grapeshot Magazine
A bizarre novel—a séance for Kafka, Walser and Calvino—that tackles the ever-disappearing boundaries between youth and aging, between music and silence, the past and present. In a spry and lonely voice, Shaun Prescott has written an ominous work of absurdity.
Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers
Shaun Prescott’s The Town is an examination of futility and avoidance, of the dangers of defining ourselves by what we are not.
Alex Gerrans, Overland
Mind-bending, often hilarious, and sometimes heart-wrenchingly sad, The Townis one of the most original and exhilarating Australian novels I’ve ever read.
Wayne Macauley, author of Some Tests, Demons, The Cook, Caravan Story, and Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe
Prescott has a real skill of presenting the banality of everyday life in a way that is wholly original and strange, but his real achievement here is that each aspect of this novel is expertly balanced, and the distanced tone manages to make the story’s most bizarre aspects seem commonplace. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll get a more original Australian novel this year.
Chris Somerville, author of We Are Not The Same Anymore
The Town reads like an underground classic it its own right, but whether it's a classic from the near past or from the near future is difficult to tell. In any case, Australia will never be quite the same again. Shaun Prescott has chipped off a bit from the withered heart of this country and held it up to the fluorescent light: the opposite of belonging to the earth is almost, but never quite belonging to The Town.
Miles Allinson, author of Fever of Animals
Shaun Prescott’s début novel shares obvious conceptual territory with the fiction of Franz Kafka and Gerald Murnane.
Shannon Burns, Australian Book Review
Shaun Prescott's The Town is available to buy here. Other books published by Brow Books include The Island Will Sink, Law School and the upcoming The Best of The Lifted Brow: Volume Two (available November 2017).