Text is thrilled to announce that Alexander Weinstein’s brilliant Children of the New World, has been shortlisted for a Rubery Award.
An enthralling, sometimes profound collection of short stories, Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world, of social media implants, memory manufacturers, immersive VR games, and intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and gratification, that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster.
Children of the New World grapples with our unease in this modern world and how our growing dependence on new technologies has changed the shape of our society.
‘Seductive...At their finest, Mr. Weinstein’s stories contain moments of moral complexity and, even more challenging—and more moving—moments of grace.’ — The New York Times
‘In this haunting and prescient debut collection, Weinstein evokes a vaguely dystopian, domestic existence where virtual reality, cybernetics, and social media are second nature…Over 13 tales, he steeps us in a realm of alternate realities close to our own, but each with a thought-provoking twist.’ – The Boston Globe
‘A darkly comic look at how far people will go to hold on to the devices that are replacing human experience.’ – The Washington Post
‘Mind-blowing…Weinstein’s brilliantly original, witty, and provocative tales explore the malleability of memory and self, the fragility of intimacy and nature, forging a ravishingly powerful, cautionary vision.’ – Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*
‘Touching on virtual families, climate change, implanted memories, and more, Weinstein’s debut collection of digital-age sci-fi stories is scary, recognizable, heartbreaking, witty, and absolutely human…. This is mind-bending stuff. Weinstein’s collection is full of spot-on prose, wicked humor, and heart.’ – Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW*
Text is thrilled to announce that Alexander Weinstein’s brilliant Children of the New World, has been shortlisted for a Rubery Award.
A poignant and powerful celebration of one remarkable woman’s unrelenting drive to make order from chaos, The Trauma Cleaner documents the transformative life of Sandra Pankhurst: raised in a working-class suburb of Melbourne as the abused adopted son of a Catholic family; now the owner of a highly successful trauma cleaning business.
From an early marriage, fatherhood and divorce, to living full-time as a woman, Sandra has been through a lot: as a transgender sex worker she successfully prosecuted a violent rape through the courts in the early 1980s, she worked in the drag clubs of Melbourne and the brothels of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, a remote outback town, and came back to become Victoria's first female funeral director. Later she was an upper middle class housewife, before she lost it all and turned her life around once again.
Here’s a quick round-up of why The Trauma Cleaner is one of our top books of 2018.
‘Sarah Krasnostein’s writing is warm and curious. And, carefully, it draws a portrait of Pankhurst you’ll remember long after you’ve finished reading—a woman who is quietly, wonderfully triumphant while standing at the middle and centre of despair.’—The Pool
‘Krasnostein’s playful yet heartfelt debut is one of the most arresting works of biography you will read in a long time.’—The Guardian
‘A book that is as hard to read as it is hard to put down. A story of pain and loss and loneliness, of trauma and transformations and sassy humour. And cleaning...It is a hilarious and poignant tale of a woman who defies all labels...Krasnostein is a very fine writer. Her debut book is a compelling and honest story of human survival, and love.’ —The Australian
A ‘one-of-a-kind biography’– Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"Through countless encounters with the fetid, the neglected, and the downright tragic, Parkhurst has found meaning and peace, and [author] Krasnostein a singular subject whom she approaches with well-deserved awe.’—Booklist (starred)
‘A transgender former prostitute cleans up the fetid houses of the psychotic, the hopeless and the murdered. Sounds like some dubious TLC special, but it’s a fascinating bio of Sandra Pankhurst… Revelatory.’—People
‘Compelling and fascinating.’—Oxygen
‘Pankhurst is an engaging, sympathetic, and fascinating person, and Krasnostein does an excellent job of balancing Pankhurst's personal story with those of her clients.’—LitHub Crimereads
‘Intriguing...A complex protagonist makes for engaging material.’—Publishers Weekly
‘Krasnostein has given us an extraordinary gift of humanity, life, and determination while carefully guiding us through the unspeakable conditions in which people find themselves in the face of trauma. Through sublime writing, Sarah Krasnostein expertly renders an unforgettable portrait of Sandra, one of the most compelling people I have ever read…Krasnostein is a master storyteller.’—Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done
Australian Prizes for The Trauma Cleaner:
- Winner, Victorian Prize for Literature, 2018
- Winner, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, 2018
- Winner, ABIA General Non-Fiction Book of the Year, 2018
- Shortlisted, Indie Book Award for Non-fiction, 2018
- Shortlisted, ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, 2018
Read an extract here
The Man Booker International Prize has revealed the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of thirteen novels in contention for the 2018 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world. Text is thrilled that one of its authors is in the dozen.
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, translated by Darryl Sterk, is both a majestic historical novel and a profound, startlingly intimate meditation on memory, family and home.
A writer embarks on an epic quest in search of his missing father’s stolen bicycle and soon finds himself caught up in the strangely intertwined stories of Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, the soldiers who fought in the jungles of South-East Asia during the Second World War and the secret worlds of the butterfly handicraft makers and antique bicycle fanatics of Taiwan.
‘A profoundly moving novel...Wu Ming-Yi turns events into linguistic gold with his poetic, dreamlike language.’ Good Reading
‘A work of astonishing energy, in which Wu beautifully touches on loss, life and death, fate and destiny, establishing emotional connections between memory and objects, and between the natural world and war…a novel that provides comfort and reconciliation from a wounded past.’ Thinking Taiwan
Read an interview here with Wu Ming-Yi about The Stolen Bicycle in Lindsay Magazine.
The shortlist for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize will be announced Thursday 12 April.
For further details visit www.themanbookerprize.com/international
Sisters by Lily Tuck is available this December and Text Publishing UK is thrilled to bring you this dark, elliptical story of a second wife haunted by the shadow of the first wife.
Sometimes I wondered whether she had had boyfriends before they got married. Or was she still a virgin? I also wondered whether men find deflowering a woman for the first time thrilling and satisfying? Or do they think it an onerous task?
I should have asked him but didn’t.
An unnamed narrator lives with her new husband, his two teenagers and the unwelcome presence of his first wife – known only as ‘she'. Obsessed with her predecessor, our narrator moves through her days wondering – can she equal the first wife intellectually and sexually, or ever forget the betrayal that lies between them? The daring and precise build-up to an eerily wonderful denouement is a triumph of subtlety and surprise.
Sisters delivers a riveting psychological portrait of marriage, infidelity and obsession; charting with elegance and insight love in all its phases.
Sisters was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month for the Fiction & Literature category in September. It has received rave reviews in Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist. Major reviews have been published in the New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Newsday has included Sisters in a roundup of “Books you can read in a weekend” and the BBC included it in their “”’ round-up.
Sisters by Lily Tuck is available 28 December 2017 in all good bookshops and in ebook.
Text has recently published The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville, a beautifully written, clear-eyed investigation of the science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry.
Did you know that as much as a quarter of the population suffer headaches when exposed to scent? We talk to Kate, one of Australia’s greatest writers, about the trouble with fragrance and why she decided to do something about it.
The Case Against Fragrance is your first scientifically researched non-fiction book. Why did you decide to write about the effect fragrance has on some people?
I’ve known for years that fragrance and I don’t get on – it gives me headaches. But when I was on tour to promote my last book, I realised just how hard it is to avoid synthetic scents. That means, if they give you a headache, you have a headache a lot of the time. I’d never heard anyone talk about having the same problem, so I thought it must just be me – until I went online and discovered that, on the contrary, there are a lot of us. One in three people get some kind of health problem from fragrance – headaches, asthma, skin allergies, nausea, coughing, sneezing, sore eyes… I started to read the scientific research about the connection between fragrance and those symptoms, and what I found out seemed worth sharing, especially since there are so many of us.
Is there any research on the ways fragrance can affect our long-term health, as well as those short-term symptoms?
Nearly all fragrances these days are synthetic, rather than made from flowers, and a lot of them have only been developed fairly recently – within one lifetime. Some of these new chemicals are carcinogens, and some are hormone disruptors. There’s a lot of ongoing scientific research about them, but there hasn’t been enough time yet to know what the long-term effects on humans are. When it comes to those fragrance ingredients, we’re essentially the lab rats in a giant experiment.
How did you go about researching this book?
There’s a lot of wild talk online about fragrance. There are fragrance fans and fragrance haters, and a lot of what they say isn’t what you’d call completely reliable. For this book I only used research that was published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals – that is, properly run, evidence-based studies. There’s a huge body of quality research that’s publicly available.
Why do you think an issue that evidently affects so many people is not talked about?
We’re bombarded with a lot of stuff about how wonderful fragrance is – it’s always been a symbol of glamour and status. To admit (even to yourself) that this glamorous, high-status stuff makes you sick is quite hard. You feel out of step with everyone else. The other thing is that smell is a very personal thing. It’s pretty difficult to tell someone that the way they smell – because of the perfume they’re wearing – is giving you a headache. As a result, many people do what I did for years – condemn yourself as an oddball, and just put up with it.
You mention that some people are sceptical when others complain about fragrances: have you faced a lot of scepticism for writing this book?
I expected a lot of scepticism, but the opposite has happened: when I tell people I’m writing a book called The Case Against Fragrance, a huge number of them light up and tell me their fragrance story – the headaches, the sneezing, the coughing, the asthma.
On the other side, I’ve been hearing a lot of the myths about fragrance. One is that fragrances – especially expensive ones – are made from flowers. The truth is that it used to be, butnot any more. Synthetic fragrance chemicals are hundreds of times cheaper than pure essential oils made from flowers, so naturally the fragrance manufacturers prefer them. And consumers won’t know, because the ingredients of fragrance don’t have to be declared on the label – the one word ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ is all the law requires, and that one word can encompass a couple of hundred different chemicals.
When you began writing this book, did you have an ending in mind? Or did you just plan to let your curiosity steer you?
The book began as private research to satisfy my own curiosity, and that curiosity shaped the book – one question led to another. As I went on asking questions, one of the biggest surprises was the lack of regulation. The fragrance industry is regulated only by itself – consumer protection is almost entirely left to the same people who make and sell fragrance. Government consumer-protection agencies have very limited power in this field. Scariest of all, there’s no requirement for new fragrance chemicals to be tested before they’re released onto the market. That, coupled with the fact that ingredients don’t have to be declared, makes fragrance an unknown quantity. Yet our world is now saturated in the stuff – not just personal products like perfumes and shampoos filling the air in every office, every bus and every cinema, but ambient fragrances (those reed diffusers and air fresheners) filling shops, taxis and even private homes. We take it for granted, but perhaps we shouldn’t.
Did your experience as a fiction writer influence the way you wrote the book?
I wanted to write a very accessible, personal book while at the same time presenting what the science has found. So I tried to make the writing as user-friendly as possible, keeping it as light and lively as I could while still being true to the science. I also worked to make the book feel like a story – it’s really the narrative of what I found out, starting with that first question: Am I the only person who gets sick from fragrance? and taking the reader with me on the journey of discovery that came from there.
What do you hope your book will achieve?
I hope the book might break the silence around fragrance and start a conversation about it. Fragrance is an optional extra in life, not an essential (there are plenty of good fragrance-free products these days, everything from deodorant to insect repellent, so we have a choice about using it). But, for many people, living in a cloud of fragrance is just a habit. They might read the book and still decide to go on using fragrance. But it will be a choice, based on information, rather than an automatic part of their lives. Once they know some of the effects of fragrance – on other people and on themselves – they might make the choice to be more selective about using it. A lot of us will be glad if they do!
What are you working on now?
Back to my comfort zone – a novel about a woman and the choices she makes, set in the early days of Australian settlement.
The Case Against Fragrance is available now in all good bookshops and in eBook.
Text is thrilled to announce that the New York Times bestseller The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs is now available in the UK.
In 2015 poet and writer Nina Riggs was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it metastasised later that year. She was thirty-eight years old, married to the love of her life and the mother of two small boys; her mother had died only a few months earlier from multiple myeloma.
The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying is Nina’s intimate, unflinching account of ‘living with death in the room’. She tells her story in a series of absurd, poignant and often hilarious vignettes drawn from a life that has ‘no real future or arc left to it, yet still goes on as if it does’.
This unforgettable memoir leads the reader into the innermost chambers of the writer’s life: into the mind and heart, the work and home and family, of a young woman alternately seeking to make peace with and raging against the reality of her approaching death.
REVIEWS FOR THE BRIGHT HOUR BY NINA RIGGS
‘You can read a multitude of books about how to die, but Riggs, a dying woman, will show you how to live.’ New York Times
Most Anticipated Summer Reading Selection by * The Washington Post * Glamour * The Seattle Times * Real Simple * The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Starred reviews from * Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal *
“Stunning…heartrending…this year’s When Breath Becomes Air.” The Washington Post
‘Gorgeous and brave, Nina Riggs’s memoir explodes with life and insight even amid ruin—with lines so poetic they knocked the wind out of me. It’s heartbreaking, funny, clear-eyed, and entirely devoid of cliché. This book is her hard-won treasure, and ours.’ Dr Lucy Kalanithi, author of When Breath Becomes Air
“Beautiful and haunting.” Matt McCarthy, USA Today
“Deeply affecting…simultaneously heartbreaking and funny.” People, (Book of the Week)
“Vivid, immediate.” Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe
‘How a woman can have this much emotional clarity and narrative power while fighting for her life should astonish every last one of us. Magical. Unforgettable.’ Kelly Corrigan
‘A luminous, heartbreaking symphony of wit, wisdom, pain, parenting and perseverance against insurmountable odds.’ Kirkus Reviews, starred review
‘A moving reminder of the precious gift of life.’ Mindfood
‘The Bright Hour is, as the subtitle indicates, an account of life and death, but it’s the living that shines, in this gloriously irreverent, sometimes objective account of the author’s terminal cancer.’ Good Reading
‘[A] deeply moving (and often funny) memoir.’ Marie Claire
‘Incredibly insightful…A meditation on life and how to live and, in the end, how to die.’ Australian
‘[Riggs] doesn't gloss over what lies ahead, and the results are at times hilarious. Heartbreaking, honest and uplifting.’ Woman’s Day
‘In this tender memoir Riggs displays a keen awareness of and reverence for all the moments of life—both the light, and the dark, “the cruel, and the beautiful”’ Publishers Weekly
"Profound and poignant...I put down The Bright Hour a slightly different, and better, person - unbearably sad and also feeling, as Riggs did, 'the hug of the world.’” O Magazine
‘This gorgeous chronicle of the last year of her life – brimming with seemingly mundane details about parenting, buying a couch, getting a puppy – is a gentle reminder to cherish each day.’ Best New Books, Entertainment Weekly
‘Touching and wickedly funny.’ Glamour
‘The antithesis of grim: an irreverent and poignant Baedeker through the country of illness.’ Wall Street Journ
‘Her observations about cancer are frank and unsentimental [but] they are also tart and hilarious...Like the bestselling When Breath Becomes Air, the work she left behind is a beautiful testament to the quiet magic of everyday life and making the most of the time we are given, whether it’s spent taking last-minute trips to Paris, wallpapering the mudroom, or reveling in a newly purchased couch.’ New York Post
‘As a poet she composed The Bright Hour with delicacy, love of language, full awareness, and a realism that almost hurts to read and absorb...A family history, a personal memoir, and a roadmap for others to follow, The Bright Hour is a story to embrace, learn from and recommend to good friends.’ Book Reporter
‘This is one of those confusing books that will have you teary while also snorting with laughter. Basically, you will need tissues...The Bright Hour is filled with wonderful wit and irreverence in the face of death, making it truly memorable.’ Whimn