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  • Published: 4 January 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143780182
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

The River House




THE BOOK CLUB PICK OF 2016! The River House is a spellbinding debut novel, resonant of childhoods past and the beauty of the Australian countryside.

THE BOOK CLUB PICK OF 2016! The River House is a spellbinding debut novel, resonant of childhoods past and the beauty of the Australian countryside.

It is the late 1940s, and the Broody River runs through a maze of sandbanks into the Coral Sea. On its southern bank lies the holiday town of Baroodibah. But its northern shore is wild – unsettled except for the River House, an old weatherboard box on stumps where the Carlyle family take their holidays.

For four-year-old Laurie Carlyle the house and its untold stories fire the imagination. It is a place of boating trips and nature collections, of the wind howling, the sheoaks sighing and the pelicans soaring into the blue sky.

But when a squabble between Laurie and her older brother Tony takes an unexpected turn, she detects the first hints of family discord. As the years pass, the River House holidays seem to shine a light on the undercurrents in the family: the secret from her mother’s past, the bitterness between Tony and their father Doug, and her sister Miranda’s increasingly erratic and dangerous behaviour . . .

Following the family’s story through the decades, The River House is a richly nostalgic novel about love and betrayal, personal tragedy and thwarted ambition, illusion and remorse. Above all it is about change, and the slow but relentless march of time.

"Evocative, deeply Australian and beautifully written. A treat to read" Susan Duncan

  • Published: 4 January 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143780182
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

About the author

Janita Cunnington

Janita Cunnington was born at the end of World War II in the small New South Wales town of Barraba, in the heart of New England sheep country. Her relations spent their days managing their households and mobs of sheep, and their evenings reposing in happy ignorance of their convict taint.

When her father was discharged from the army, the family moved to Brisbane to live with her paternal grandfather in his sprawling Queenslander. She spent her early childhood there, loitering in its ambit and coming under the lasting influence of houses and their stories.

She was nine when the family moved onto a small holding on the outskirts of Brisbane. There they kept company with a jersey cow and calf, a dozen or so chooks, a couple of dogs and a healthy population of brown snakes.

Janita came of age (married, had babies and dreamed of revolution) in the heady sixties. In 1968 she travelled to Europe with her children and first husband, and was in Prague during the Warsaw Pact invasion. The experience made her prize the quieter dramas of ordinary suburban life.

For many years she earned her living as an editor, eventually retired, and in due course claimed credit for grandchildren.

Janita now lives on Stradbroke Island.

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Praise for The River House

Evocative, deeply Australian and beautifully written. A treat to read.

Susan Duncan

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