Book Buzz
Book Buzz is a promotional newsletter supported by the publishers.

About the book | What people are saying | About the author | Sample chapter | Book group notes | Reading copy giveaway


In an increasingly divided and intolerant world, What the Light Reveals is a beacon: a novel that brilliantly captures the sometimes devastating consequences of individual belief.


What the Light Reveals About the book

Conrad is falsely accused of passing military secrets to the Russians. His life and that of his family is turned upside down by discrimination and fear. Unemployed, misrepresented by the media, betrayed by relatives and threatened by strangers, Conrad sees no choice but to uproot his family from their homeland to start a new life in Moscow.

It is also the story of Ruby, and of her and Conrad’s adopted son, Alex, and biological son, Peter, and of the tension and intrigue that confronts them and shapes their lives in two countries. Russia lives and breathes in McCoy’s superb evocation of it, but Australia is never far away. As Peter says, ‘Tell me again why we’re still here?’

Told with suspense and rich in characterisation and surprising plot twists, this is a novel of both heart and intellect, a book about the need to belong, about what a family is and why we all need one.

Inspired by the author‘s own family history, this atmospheric novel superbly captures both Australia (Sydney, and Melbourne’s Richmond and St Kilda) and Russia (Moscow, Odessa). With echoes of classic Australian authors such as the late George Johnston, Mick McCoy’s third novel is reminiscent of Tim Winton’s work. It adeptly explores family dynamics, and is rich in characterisation and feeling.

Published: 1 March 2018
Trade paperback
RRP: $29.99
Distribution: NewSouth Books


What people are saying about What the Light Reveals

‘A story about an Australian family facing the ruin of both bonds and belief. Atmospheric, intensely original and utterly unforgettable.’M J Hyland, author of Carry Me Down (shortlisted for the 2006 Booker Prize) and This is How

‘McCoy has given us that special thing: a powerful, singular vision of the complexities faced by individuals existing alongside each other as a family. This novel is beyond good storytelling: it is taut, evocative and sensationally unique.’—Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done 

‘An Australian family living in Moscow during the Cold War. A novel about secrets and lies, guilt, loyalty, and betrayal and the urge for survival. Haunting, compelling and memorable, Mick McCoy’s novel has all of the moral complexity and the psychological intensity of an Ian McEwan novel.’Antoni Jach, author of The Layers of the City and Napoleons Double  


Mick McCoy About the author

Mick McCoy is the author of Burning Sunday (Sceptre), which was shortlisted for the 1999 Age Book of the Year award, and Cutting Through Skin (Sceptre, 2001). He lives with his wife and daughter in Melbourne, Australia. Before writing books, he did a Ph.D. in exercise physiology at University of Melbourne, and worked for seven seasons as the head of player conditioning at Richmond Football Club. Between the books, he founded, built and successfully sold ‘fitness2live’, an online health and wellbeing business. His weekly Saturday morning talkback segment on ABC 774 ran for five years, and as a print journalist, his writing has appeared in the Age, Financial Review Magazine, the Sunday Age, the Qantas Club Magazine, the West Australian, Business Review Weekly and more. What the Light Reveals has been a long time coming but it has been well worth the wait. Its publication signals the return of a major Australian talent.

Learn more at


Sample chapter

Download the first chapter of What the Light Reveals here.


Book group notes

A perfect title for book groups. Download book group notes here.


Reading copy giveaway

To receive one of five reading copies of What the Light Reveals, email with ‘B+P Giveaway’ in the subject line, and the first five people to respond will receive a copy.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

Classifieds, jobs and notices

Display advertising

Select newsletters

Select which newsletters you’d like to receive here.
Unsubscribe from individual newsletters here.
Or unsubscribe from all newsletters here.

View articles

Purchase a subscription to Books+Publishing to view all articles on the website.

If you need help with your subscription, please email the Subscriptions team.