Six new e-book novels to check out during trimester break
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year. As we all spend more time at home, it’s become clear how critical the creative arts are to the mental health and wellbeing of people all over the world. Where would we be without thousands of hours of books, podcasts, TV shows, movies and other entertainment to keep us company?
This has been a tricky year for authors coming out with a new book. That’s why we have been delighted to add several new novels to our e-book collection to support writers and give Deakin users access to the latest great fiction.
Here are six titles to look out for, along with their summaries:
1. The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay
Out on the road, no one speaks, everything talks. Hard-drinking and foul-mouthed, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue. As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals – first mammals, then birds and insects, too. As the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds, including Jean’s infected son, Lee. When he takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin. Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species.
2. Honeybee by Craig Silvey
Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below. At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette. The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other. Honeybee is a heartbreaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show. At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering stepfather, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances.
3. Bluebird by Malcom Knox
A house perched impossibly on a cliff overlooking the stunning, iconic Bluebird Beach. Prime real estate, yet somehow not real estate at all, The Lodge is, like those who live in it, falling apart. Gordon Grimes has become the accidental keeper of this last relic of an endangered world. He lives in The Lodge with his wife Kelly who is trying to leave him, their son Ben who will do anything to save him, his goddaughter Lou who is hiding from her own troubles, and Leonie, the family matriarch who has trapped them here for their own good. But Gordon has no money and is running out of time to conserve his homeland. His love for this way of life will drive him, and everyone around him, to increasingly desperate risks. In the end, what will it cost them to hang onto their past?
4. A lonely girl is a dangerous thing by Jessie Tu
Jena Lin plays the violin. She was once a child prodigy and now uses sex to fill the void left by fame. She’s struggling a little. Her professional life comprises rehearsals, concerts, auditions and relentless practice; her personal life is spent managing the demands of her strict family and creative friends, and hooking up. And then she meets Mark – much older and worldly-wise – who consumes her. But at what cost to her dreams? When Jena is awarded an internship with the New York Philharmonic, she thinks the life she has dreamed of is about to begin. But when Trump is elected, New York changes irrevocably and Jena along with it. Is the dream over? As Jena’s life takes on echoes of Frances Ha, her favourite film, crucial truths are gradually revealed to her. A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing explores female desire and the consequences of wanting too much and never getting it. It is about the awkwardness and pain of being human in an increasingly dislocated world – and how, in spite of all this, we still try to become the person we want to be.
5. The perfect world of Miwako Sumida: A novel of modern Japan by Clarissa Goenawan
A bewitching novel set in contemporary Japan about the mysterious suicide of a young woman. Miwako Sumida is dead. Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity – but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret. Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.
6. Where the fruit falls by Karen Wyld
Spanning four generations, with a focus on the 1960s and 70s, an era of rapid social change and burgeoning Aboriginal rights, Where the Fruit Falls is a re-imagining of the epic Australian novel. Brigid Devlin, a young Aboriginal woman, and her twin daughters navigate a troubled nation of First Peoples, settlers and refugees – all determined to shape a future on stolen land. Leaving the sanctuary of her family’s apple orchard, Brigid sets off with no destination and a willy wagtail for company. As she moves through an everchanging landscape, Brigid unravels family secrets to recover what she’d lost – by facing the past, she finally accepts herself. Her twin daughters continue her journey with their own search for self-acceptance, truth and justice.
A bonus read
The Netflix series Enola Holmes has been taking the world by storm. Did you know it’s based on a book published in 2018? You can check out The case of the missing marquess: Enola Holmes 1 by Nancy Springer in our collection. Here’s the summary:
When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers-all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?
Looking for more?
Check out our list of recommendations from T1 or simply choose ‘Advanced Search’ from the library homepage, type ‘Fiction’ into the search box and select ‘SU Subject Terms’ in the dropdown. Hit search, sort your results by ‘e-books’ in the sidebar, and you’re ready to start reading!
Originally published on Article, the Deakin Library blog.