If you've been following our socials, then you've probably seen that Readings has shortlisted, not one, but TWO Brow Books for their 2018 Prize for New Australian Fiction.
Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau and The Town by Shaun Prescott have both been chosen by Readings staff to be among the best works of Australian fiction published over the last year.
We're thrilled for Jamie and Shaun, and chuffed to see writing that challenges well-trodden notions of the Australian novel getting some well-deserved recognition.
If you haven't already gotten your hands on these two excellent novels, then you can snap them up here. Or, if you wanna be a real champion of Australian lit, you can buy the entire shortlist here at a brill discount.
Pink Mountain on Locust Island
Jamie Marina Lau
Monk lives in Chinatown with her washed-up painter father. When Santa Coy — possible boyfriend, potential accomplice — enters their lives, an intoxicating hunger consumes their home. So begins a heady descent into art, casino resorts, drugs, vacant swimming pools, religion, pixelated tutorial videos, and senseless violence.
In bursts of fizzing, staccato and claustrophobic prose, this modern Australian take on the classic hard-boiled novel bounces you between pulverised English, elastic Cantonese and the new dialect of a digitised world.
Tip over into a subterranean noir of the most electronic generation.
Jamie Marina Lau (劉劍冰) is a 21-year-old writer and musician from Melbourne. Her work can be found in Cordite, ROOKIE magazine, Voiceworks, the Art Hoe Collective and in Monash University’s 2016 anthology Futures. She is currently studying film and literature, producing music, and working on more fiction.
In a town of innumerable petrol stations, labyrinthine cul-de-sac streets, two competing shopping plazas, and ubiquitous drive-thru franchises, where are the townsfolk likely to find the truth about their collective past — and can they do so before the town disappears?
Shaun Prescott’s debut novel The Town follows an unnamed narrator’s efforts to complete a book about disappeared towns in the Central West of New South Wales. Set in a yet-to-disappear town in the region — a town believed by its inhabitants to have no history at all — the novel traces its characters’ attempts to carve their own identities in a place that is both unyielding and teetering on the edge of oblivion.
For admirers of Gerald Murnane, Wayne Macauley, Robert Walser, and Thomas Bernhard, this novel speaks to who we are as people, and as a country, whether we like what it says or not.
Shaun Prescott is a writer based in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. He has self-released several small books of fiction, including Erica From Sales and The End of Trolleys, and was editor of Crawlspace Magazine. His writing has appeared in The Lifted Brow, The Guardian, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, and other places.