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The debut novel from the brilliant and award-winning poet Helen Mort

How do we trust each other?

Alexa is a young police community support officer whose world feels unstable. Her father is estranged and her girlfriend is increasingly distant. Their polyamorous relationship – which for years felt so natural – is starting to seem strained. As she patrols Sheffield she senses the rising tensions in its disparate communities and doubts her ability to keep the peace, to help, to change anything.

Caron is pushing Alexa away and pushing herself ever harder. A climber, she fixates on a brutal route known as Black Car Burning and throws herself into a cycle of repetition and risk. Leigh, who works at a local gear shop, watches Caron climb and feels complicit.

Meanwhile, an ex-police officer compulsively revisits the April day in 1989 that changed his life forever. Trapped in his memories of the disaster, he tracks the Hillsborough inquests, questioning everything.

As the young women negotiate the streets of the city and its violent inheritance, the rock faces of Stanage and their relationships with each other, the urban and natural landscape watches over them, an ever-present witness. Black Car Burning is a brilliant debut novel of trust and trauma, fear and falling, from one of our best young writers.

Reviews

Black Car Burning does what surprisingly few books even attempt: it gives a voice to the lyric landscapes of South Yorkshire, it looks beyond binary clichés to consider the real lives of real people in streets and suburbs that are often forgotten; Mort handles trauma, lust and loss so tenderly and deftly, it is hard to believe that this is a first novel

Andrew McMillan, author of Physical

This book is a symphony of voices: of lovers and the land they grasp in strong but scar-lined hands. Black Car Burning channels the soul of a city and its surrounds. Helen Mort shifts with deftness and empathy from the sensuous to the dark, communing with slandered neighbourhoods, the shadow of a disaster, and a generation's complex ascents through love. A hymn to a special city and an unforgettable book

Damian Le Bas, author of The Stopping Places

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback

    9781784741884

    April 4, 2019

    Chatto & Windus

    288 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
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    • Boomerang Books
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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473548817

    April 4, 2019

    Vintage Digital

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • eBooks
    • Google Play
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