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Dreamlike and compulsive, a blazing literary debut about love, violence and survival at any cost. For fans of Hot Milk, The Girls and The Handmaid's Tale.

Once upon a time, damaged women came here to be cured. We took them in, fed them glasses of our clean, good water, let them scream at the waves till their lips split like ripe fruit. Now no one is left but my sisters and me. King died a year ago, quite suddenly. Mother has vanished, no one knows where. And the safe compound they built around us, far away from the toxic world, has finally been breached.

Three men arrived last week, washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent. We remember now what our father taught us. 'If the men come to you, show yourself some mercy. Don't stick around and wait for them to put you out of your misery.'

Reviews

An extraordinary debut novel. Otherworldly, luminous, precise . . . She is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world

Guardian

Bold, inventive, haunting . . . With shades of Margaret Atwood and Eimear McBride, you'll be bowled over by it

Stylist

Raw, visceral, hypnotic . . . with one of my favourite endings I've read in a long while

The Pool

Immensely assured, calmly devastating

Katherine Angel, author of Unmastered

A work of cool, claustrophobic beauty

Eli Goldstone, author of Strange Heart Beating

Eerily beautiful, strange [and] unsettling

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

Otherworldly, brutal and poetic: a feminist fable set by the sea, a female Lord of the Flies. It transported me, savaged me, filled me with hope and fear. It felt like a book I'd been waiting to read for a long time

Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780241337349

    May 28, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9780241334744

    June 15, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780241983027

    May 31, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Extract

I

Father

Grace, Lia, Sky

Once we have a father, but our father dies without us noticing.

It’s wrong to say that we don’t notice. We are just absorbed in ourselves, that afternoon when he dies. Unseasonable heat. We squabble, as usual. Mother comes out on the terrace and puts a stop to it by raising her hand, a swift motion against the sky. Then we spend some time lying down with lengths of muslin over our faces, trying not to scream, and so he dies with none of us women bearing witness, none of us accompanying him.

It is possible we drove him away, that the energy escaped our bodies despite our attempts to stifle it and became a smog clinging around the house, the forest, the beach. That was where we last saw him. He put a towel on the ground and lay down parallel to the sea, flat on the sand. He was resting, letting sweat gather along his top lip, his bare head.

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