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Bloodlines (Nicole Sinclair, Margaret River Press)

Thirty-one-year-old Beth is lost in her current life in Western Australia’s wheat belt and running from a past that haunts her. She seeks refuge on an island in Papua New Guinea and throws herself into her work teaching at a local school, making new friends and learning the sometimes-harsh ways of the small community. Interwoven with Beth’s narrative is that of her parents’—the story of their love, life and loss is one that has significant impact on those around them. The differences between the unknown terrain of Papua New Guinea and the familiarity of home in Western Australia make the island setting an ideal backdrop for Beth to compare her old life with the new, and discover what it means to live an authentic and happy life. She learns that more often than not, home is about the people you choose to surround yourself with, and that everyone has a past they carry with them. Though this is a work of realistic fiction, it explores similar themes to travel memoirs—using a new geographical setting to trigger the protagonist’s inner journey. Nicole Sinclair was shortlisted for the TAG Hungerford Award for this book, and it is a thoughtful, heartfelt work with a well-executed use of multiple narratives and varying perspectives. This enjoyable read marks the emergence of a sincere and refreshing new voice in the Australian literary world

Jessica Slade is a former bookseller with Abbey’s Bookshop in Sydney

 

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