A powerful and evocative literary thriller from a stunning new Australian voice, for fans of Donna Tartt and Alice Sebold.
Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, powerful and sometimes treacherous family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. Now, though, Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole family. What in their dark and complicated past has brought them to this point?
As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this brutal act. Their aunt’s supposed death at sea; Estella’s unhappy marriage to the brutish Leonard; the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of the opulent world they inhabit – one by one, the facts float up, forcing Gwendolyn to confront the truth about who she and her sister really are, and the secrets in their family’s past.
Travelling from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Jakarta to the most spectacular shows at Paris Fashion Week, from the coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, Under Your Wings is a powerful, evocative and deeply compelling novel about the secrets that can build a family empire - and then ultimately bring it crashing down.
“This is a bold and dramatic portrayal of characters on the cusp of an impossible choice between complicit self-preservation and total annihilation. ”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A sobering look at the dark side of extreme wealth among Chinese families in Indonesia. Tsao's depiction of domestic abuse is powerful.”
“Tiffany Tsao’s novel of sisters Gwendolyn and Estella is haunting, disturbing and vivid. It is one of those novels that has such a strong opening chapter that I questioned if the author would be able to meet my expectations for the rest of the novel. But meet them she did.”
“Tiffany Tsao’s Under Your Wings is a sharply realised page-turner with a brilliant twist, written with an effortless command of pace and suspense.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
“One of the most gripping, original and enlightening novels of the day.”
“Addressing Indonesia’s violent history, the 1998 May riots, and discrimination against the country’s ethnic Chinese minority, Tiffany Tsao offers an incisive critique of rich and powerful Chinese Indonesians, family bonds, and privilege. The book challenges many assumptions of what “Indonesia” is and provides a nuanced picture of wealthy Asian families in the transnational context. A compelling page-turner, it reveals the intricate dynamics between love, ambition, and fear as we journey through dark family secrets and unlock door after door before reaching the dead end. The Majesties is a chilling novel about what a family is capable of for the sake of maintaining illusions and the desperate, destructive ways that its entrapped members must take in order to escape.”
Intan Paramaditha, author of Apple and Knife and The Wandering
“Tsao deftly juggles a large cast of characters, and her thorough examination of the life of a wealthy Chinese-Indonesian family, as well as her insights into the false assumptions those in the Chinese, Indonesian, and Western communities make about its members, are intelligent and lively.”
“A dark, delicious tale that will creep its way into your brain and leave you examining your own soul for signs of moral rot. I downed it in one greedy shot.”
Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. the World
“I am so unsettled by the read as a whole makes The Majesties a resounding success. It's shocking how enjoyable and delicious this dark, disturbing novel was, and that unease will sit with me for a long time to come.”
Swapna Krishna, npr
“Fascinating and well-written ... It's shocking how enjoyable and delicious this dark, disturbing novel was.”