Blood and Bone

Blood and BoneMy début novel, Blood and Bone, won Seizure’s Viva La Novella Prize and was published by Xoum in 2014. It has been variously described as a work of Australian Gothic literature, as experimental historical fiction, and as “a book that actively resists easy categorisation.”

The publisher’s blurb calls Blood and Bone “the tale of a man haunted by the violent truths of his ancestry. Through his attempt to document the remarkable childhood of his great-aunt Abigail, we are thrown into life at the Whangie, an austere outpost at the colonial frontier. With the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Abigail must learn to fend for herself against the cruel stewardship of her father. At war with the local Aboriginals and intent on staking his claim on the land at any cost, what occurs between the two is a stunning powerplay that exposes the limits of the human imagination. Inhabiting the speculative peripheries of the historical record, Blood and Bone is an uncompromising exploration of Australia’s dark history and its legacy today.” Given the way it grapples with the inadequacies and limitations of the effort to imagine a life lived more than a century ago, I think of Blood and Bone as a record of literary failure under the guise of historical portraiture, in the vein of Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project or Laurent Binet’s HHhH.

Praise for Blood and Bone

Blood and Bone fulfils two objectives: shedding light on a dark past, and exploring intellectual and aesthetic problems that the writing of such a story might create. … [T]he tale is made seamless by a tight structure and a hypnotic style that seems to owe something to the work of Gerald Murnane.

— Kerryn Goldsworthy

What sort of a book is it? Is it a Gerald Murnane-Cormac McCarthy lovechild? It’s a little bit that, although it seems impolite to pigeonhole a writer in such a way; really, every author exists in his or her own beautiful orbit.

— Emily Stewart

This book sits at the very peak of Australian literature… Australians need to celebrate such talent [and] laud these brave and interesting literary voices… This may well be the finest contemporary novel by an Australian author about Australia.

tfitoby

…a powerful and brutal little book…

Leah Cripps

…highly impactful, even shocking… an important novel.

Ilyhana Kennedy

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