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A big, bold and heartbreakingly beautiful novel that captures a defining moment in Australia’s history. As the iconic shells of the Sydney Opera House take shape on the harbour amid a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War threatens to tear the country apart—and forces everyone to take a side.


About the book About the book

Everywhere he looked he saw what Utzon saw. The drama of harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept …

In 1965, as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart.

Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers and save them from the draft. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist from Sweden, is obsessed with creating a unique work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece.

In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, Shell captures a world on the brink of seismic change though the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm.

And it reminds us why taking a side matters.

Shell will launch the new imprint of Scribner Australia

Publication: October 2018
Category: Literary fiction
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925685329
RRP: $35.00


About the author About the author

Kristina Olsson is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir won the 2014 Kibble Literary Award, the 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, the 2013 Queensland Literary Award and the 2014 Western Australia Premier’s Literary Award. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize, the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the 2013 Australian Human Rights Commission Literature Award. Her other works include the biography, Kilroy Was Here, and novels In One Skin and The China Garden


Advance praise 

Shell is a beautifully wrought, many-layered novel that transcends time and place, and I haven’t read anything quite like it since Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Shell will be one of those novels that everyone is still reading for decades to come.’—Suzanne Baboneau, managing director of adult publishing at Simon & Schuster UK 

Shell is the kind of masterful work that reads like the literary equivalent of Botticelli’s Venus—one imagines it leapt onto the page, fully formed, from the author’s imagination—as the precision of Kristina Olsson’s prose and the depth of her story are outshone only by their apparent effortlessness.’—Sarah Cantin, Atria Books senior editor 

‘This book is, quite simply, a masterpiece. This big, bold, heartbreakingly beautiful story deserves to win a truckload of awards. But, most of all, Shell deserves to be read—by as many people as possible.’—Fiona Henderson, Simon & Schuster Australia publishing director


Hear from the author



Be one of the first to read Shell. Email with ‘Shell giveaway’ in the subject line for your chance to win one of five proof copies.





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