The Restorer

The Restorer


by Michael Sala
OCT 2017

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Pub Date: 26 October, 2017
Extent: 352pp
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781925355024

  • Longlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2018
  • Shortlisted, ABIA Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year, 2018
  • Shortlisted, NSW Premier's Literary Awards: Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, 2018
  • Shortlisted, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, 2017

Read an extract from The Restorer here.

After a year apart, Maryanne returns to her husband, Roy, bringing their eight-year-old son Daniel and teenage daughter Freya with her. The family move from Sydney to Newcastle, where Roy has bought a derelict house on the coast. As Roy painstakingly patches the holes in the floorboards and plasters over cracks in the walls, Maryanne believes, for a while, that they can rebuild a life together.

But Freya doesn’t want a fresh start—she just wants out—and Daniel drifts around the sprawling, run-down house in a dream, infuriating his father, who soon forgets the promises he has made.

Some cracks can never be smoothed over, and tension grows between Roy and Maryanne until their uneasy peace is ruptured—with devastating consequences.


‘A scrupulously written, scarifying story of impending tragedy, which is to give nothing away…A picture of domestic tension, violence and disintegration.’ Sydney Morning Herald, Books for Your Holiday Reading

Domestic violence is an everyday reality for tens of thousands of women in Australia. Recent horrors and public campaigns have raised awareness of this social scourge. Journalists have written extensively on the subject, yet it is novelists, as Michael Sala shows in The Restorer, that can gives us a more acute view of the emotional complexities that bind couples and keep women in threatening domestic situations.’ Australian Book Review

‘This is powerful, poetic, extraordinary fiction…Sala never falters.’ Australian

‘His style is spare and direct, as if parading its lack of trickiness and fanfare; but underneath it swells a great, unwieldy tide of emotion.’ Overland

 ‘Unputdownable…Sala creates an atmosphere of simmering tension with an undercurrent of unpredictability that seeps into every exchange. [He] is a brilliant writer.’ Saturday Paper

‘Closely observed, with the visceral force of truth, Michael Sala’s heartbreaking novel captures the tender hope of love and its terrible cost.’ Kathryn Heyman

‘Sala’s account is sophisticated and shows the immense complexity of relationships.’ Good Reading

‘Michael Sala taps into the tension and fear of the times to help build the mood…The cracks are widening long before the earth moves in this novel of a family locked into patterns of violence.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

The Restorer is a powerful, emotionally charged and thought provoking book. Yet again shining a light on a pervasive strain in Australian society, Sala effectively builds the tension based on a certain fatalistic inevitability. The storm was always coming and it was always going to break.’ PS News