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About the book
  • Published: 2 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781864711547
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $29.99
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Welcome To Normal




This collection of stories showcase the calibre and versatility of Nick Earls at his perceptive best.

This collection of stories showcase the calibre and versatility of Nick Earls at his perceptive best.

An Australian wine-maker tries to crack the Taiwanese market. Two holiday-makers in Spain decide to tell a lie about each other every meal. A man drives home from work trying not to dwell on what he has just done.

From Arizona to Taipei to suburban Brisbane, Nick Earls's characters lead ordinary lives that, in these stories, become far from ordinary. Ranging widely in style, setting and narrator, Welcome to Normal vividly captures the uniqueness of the everyday through its author's eye for detail and his unfailing aim at the human heart.

By turns playful and thought-provoking, these stories showcase the calibre and versatility of Nick Earls at his perceptive best.

'A writer hitting his straps with gusto.' - The Australian

  • Pub date: 2 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781864711547
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $29.99

About the Author

Nick Earls

Nick Earls is the author of twenty books, including the bestselling novels Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses, Perfect Skin and World of Chickens. His work has been published internationally in English and in translation, and has won awards in the UK and Australia. Five of his novels have been adapted into plays and two into feature films. He was the founding chair of the Australian arm of the international aid agency War Child and is now a War Child ambassador.

Also by Nick Earls

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Praise for Welcome To Normal

“There's so much to like in Welcome to Normal. The stories are humorous and delicately drawn, with Earls threading commonality throughout: the isolating open roads, the loneliness, and the crises in his characters' sense of self and ambition.”

Rebecca Starford, The Australian

“Earls writes with deftness and subtlety, each story drawing out the hearts of his characters. Its not so much what happens to them but the unspoken things - the thoughts not given voice - that shape these tales. The scope, versatility and humour in Earls' writing is displayed beautifully in these diverse and often lengthy tales.”

Deborah Crabtree, Australian Bookseller + Publisher

“The best Australian short story collection since Nam Le's The Boat, without question.”

Chris Flynn

“Not a great deal occurs [in the opening story Welcome to Normal], but it is Earls' convincing dialogue and subtle observations of the nuances of everyday life that make this an engrossing story. Range is one of the most affecting stories, as Earls contrasts the ordinariness of the narrator's domestic life with his job as a remote operator of US drones targeting individuals in Afghanistan. In Merlo Girls, Earls perfectly captures both the awkwardness of these friendships by association and the unease often felt in these kinds of cooler-than-thou establishments. The remaining stories are just as varied in their subject matter. What all of these stories have in common is masterfully crafted prose, dry but sympathetic observation and an engrossing allusion to a larger, unseen world.”

David Messer, The Sydney Morning Herald

“There’s a completeness to his writing that shows. Each of these stories manages to stand apart from the other, yet within an arms-reach of all is a keen eye for the most explosive, invisible moments in everyday life – the realisation that you will never be young again, that your parents too are flawed, dissatisfied and tragically human, and that partnership is as much about love as it is the imperfections that you’ve melded long ago. The characters here are all expats of a kind, forced to react when thrown out of their comfort zones, through travel, separation or unwanted company. Each of them undergoing seismic shifts that take place internally, without anyone noticing and within the blink of an eye.”

Jessica Au, Readings Monthly

“Many essay short fiction, but fewer actually succeed with the form. Earls is one of the shining exceptions. Character and narrative are both important here: things happen and resonate deep in the psyche. Good stuff.”

Lucy Sussex, The Sun Herald

“Earls has always had a good eye for cultural strangeness. Road trips, male bonding, the manifold varieties of loneliness: these are the major themes woven through the collection. It is also striking that most people in Welcome to Normal have their daily lives constantly mediated by the gadgets of contemporary culture.”

Jeffrey Poacher, Australian Book Review

“This collection of stories showcase the calibre and versatility of Nick Earls. By turns playful and thought-provoking, these stories are extremely entertaining.”

Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga

“In this collection of stories we are treated to Earls at his clear-eyed best. Unpredictable and engrossing, Welcome to Normal is anything but.”

South Coast Register

“Earl's latest collection of eight short stories has all his trademark versatility...His greatest strength lies with his ability to tell stories with a simplicity beneath which glints complexity. Economy, concision, defining dialogue - Welcome to Normal displays Earl's crucial skills to wonderful effect.”

Jennifer Peterson-Ward, West Australian, Perth

“By turns playful and thought-provoking, these stories showcase the calibre and versatility of Nick earls at his perceptive best.”

Mid-West Times, Geraldton

“The dialogue between his characters is expertly crafted. He leaves the reader wanting more each time he reaches his conclusion - while some may see it as a fault of his stories, others will take it as an indication of skill.”

Anya Whitelaw, Western Advocate, Bathurst

“They are clever, convincing, salutary and ultimately affirming stories, written with all Earl's self-effacing subtle skill.”

Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser


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