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A haunting, compelling first novel by the author of the award-winning Madness: A Memoir.

Forever entwined, Sea and Serene live isolated in the Australian alpine wilderness, together with Wren - the young man who helps care for them. Each have found peace in this wild, fierce landscape, and they live in harmony, largely self-sufficient.

One day Wren discovers a woman on the road nearby, badly injured and unconscious. He brings her back to the cottage, and he and the twins nurse her back to health. But the arrival of this outsider shatters the dynamic within, with unforeseen consequences.

Lyrical and poetic, Fusion is a unique and haunting modern-gothic tale that has at its heart questions of selfhood, dependency, difference and love. It is the compelling first novel by the award-winning author of Madness: A Memoir.


The plot of Fusion is lean and sinewy. But its exploration of both human longing and the fragile nature of self-acceptance and identity is lush and laced with sweetness. This is a book that fills tired lungs with air as sharp and pure as crystal.

Michael McGirr, The Age

While at times heart-wrenchingly sad, the novel is never without hope; Richards highlights her characters’ ultimate desires for love and acceptance through gentle moments of compassion and exquisite descriptions of the natural world. Her highly stylised prose delivers a story that is as multi-layered as its characters. Part fairytale, part Australian Gothic thriller, Fusion is contemporary Australian literature at its finest and deserves multiple readings—an ideal selection for book clubs.

Jacqui Davies, Australian Bookseller + Publisher

Fusion is a reflection on love and how the manifestations of it range from self-sacrifice to selfishness.

Chris Murray, Australian Book Review

Fusion is a dark Australian Gothic fairy tale in a lyrical mode. At its heart, the novel questions identity, dependence, isolation and difference. It is a strange, bold, eerie debut.

Michael McLoughlin, Readings Carlton

There is certainly ugliness in Fusion (bullying, ostracism, abuse and death) but there are also strains of beauty running through it, particularly found in communing with the natural wilderness that’s des­cribed with depth and lusciousness. There’s a lot that’s deliberately unanswerable in this fabulist tale. It’s telling that one of the twin’s favourite words is “beyond”, for it carries with it elements of “the fantastical and of freedom”.

Thuy On, The Australian

This is a weird but compelling story about four people (well...you could say three as two of them are conjoined) living on the fringes of society for different reasons—but they care for each other as no-one else will. It raises questions of difference and love and dependency which is woven through a haunting tale. A well written first novel by this Australian writer.

Victoria, Gleebooks Gleaner

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    February 5, 2019

    Hamish Hamilton

    304 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    February 5, 2019

    Penguin eBooks

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks


In the beginning we were a single pluripotent embryo that was so burst-full of genetic potential it considered becoming two embryos and then part way through this most delicate of processes, changed its mind. We were born in the deepest part of the night when the moon was dark and the clouds low, Venus and Mars were obscured and the stars stopped blinking for a whole heartbeat. Now, if we turn our heads in to the right or left as far as they’ll go – thirty degrees – and look to the right or to the left till our eyes ache, we can see each other’s cheek.

But not each other’s eyes.

Two perfectly formed skulls, two minds, two hearts, two or three or four lungs – we’re not exactly sure – but below the neck we’re only two in profile, in shadow, our twin heads an echo. As one with the first thrill of desire but divided by the secret areas of the body that are half numb, half electric.

Growing over the verandah of our home is a muscat grapevine, thick enough that the kitchen, facing east, isn’t sun-flooded but deep- water-flooded first thing in the morning. Pushing our hair from our eyes, blinking, half-blinded by hair and light, we share oatmeal and spice-coffee with our cousin Wren – everything bathed in green.

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Forever Entwined

Award-winning memoirist Kate Richards discusses the genesis of her debut novel, Fusion.

Also by Kate Richards