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Emily Maguire is a writer I’ve been reading and loving for years; it’s a dream come true to be publishing her. With every book Emily’s star has risen higher in the literary firmament; her new novel Love Objects is truly incandescent. This is novel that gets under your skin and compels you to understand that there are other ways of seeing, other ways of being. It is cataclysmic, persuasive, compassionate and illuminating. Emily creates characters whose complexities reveal an all-too-familiar fragility as well as the terribly human longing for connection and love. It is impossible to read Love Objects without feeling in your heart the weight of their pain and hope, and the immensity of their courage. We at Allen & Unwin are so proud to be publishing Love Objects, and we will do everything we can to make sure this stunning novel reaches the huge readership it so deserves. Please read it if you can – contact us for a reading copy (more details below). Love Objects will be one of the novels of 2021 and beyond.

Jane Palfreyman, A&U Publisher



‘Emily Maguire pulls no punches in Love Objects; it is bold, furious, unapologetic and deeply insightful. This wise, brave author gave me energy and passion and rage, and made me want to write to change the world. Unforgettable.’
Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin-winning author of The Eye of the Sheep and Infinite Splendours

Love Objects is that rare thing: a novel of ideas which is also full of heart. Emily Maguire shines a light on elements of contemporary Australian life which are often hidden and in doing so gifts the reader with a rich and vivid world, sizzling with wit, humming with tenderness. Her characters sing on the page but more than that, they live away from the page. I see them everywhere now. It’s a stunning, immersive novel that will change the conversation about class and about what possessions mean. It’s important and funny and sad and beautiful and I absolutely adored it.’
Kathryn Heyman, author of Storm and Grace and Fury

‘This story is full of grit, with rough edges and harsh truths, but the humanity that shines through is phenomenal. Love Objects has got to be one of the most big-hearted novels I’ve ever read. Each person fully formed, each scene and new catastrophe rooted in truth. I learned something deeper about struggling and coping against class and I looked anew at how I relate to the things I own. I finished this book in two sittings and I challenge anyone to pick it up then simply put it down. I truly believe the talent and insight on display here place Maguire in the company of greats.’
Bri Lee, author of Eggshell Skull and Beauty

‘Love Objects is an antidote to the clinical Kondo-world of glossy magazine layouts. Emily Maguire’s characters are as messy as Aunty Nic’s hallway—and every bit as layered and astonishing. She writes of their struggles and pains with dark humour and an unflinching eye, but what prevails—and makes me want to read and re-read her pages—is their tenderness and shared humanity.’
Ailsa Piper, author of The Attachment

‘Revelatory. Three unforgettable characters, their everyday tragedies, and the visceral ties between a woman and her sister’s children. Love Objects is moving and deeply human, an exploration of the limits of our understanding and the depths of our compassion.’
Kristina Olsson, author of Shell

‘Maguire channels contemporary life with fierce and fearless attack, targeting our deepest fears and vulnerabilities, exposing hidden shame and questioning the meaning of privacy in today’s digital world. As well as wielding a forensic scalpel to human nature, she brings tender insight and compassion to those so often on the margins of society.’
Caroline Baum, author of Only



When I started writing what would become my sixth novel I had no intention of making it the most autobiographical yet. I had no intention of making it autobiographical at all.

I started with a strong sense of the lead character, a smart, tough, middle-aged woman named Nic. She’s a proud, lifelong checkout chick, an amateur nail artist and a fairy godmother to the neighbourhood’s stray cats. She’s also the owner of a decade’s worth of daily newspapers, enough clothes and shoes to fill Big W three times over and a pen collection which, if laid end-to-end, would probably circle her house twice. She’d put her theory to the test, if only the pen buckets weren’t currently blocked in by the crates of Happy Meal toys and the towers of Vegemite jars, take-away containers and cat food tins.

Others consider her home a problem to be solved—perhaps with the help of a reality TV crew and cleaners dressed in hazmat suits—but to her it is a haven, a joy-filled treasure trove.

Nic showed up in my mind fully-formed, a product, no doubt, of my long obsession with hoarding behaviour, and of the deep affection I have for several people with similar habits. To make sure I got her right, though, I spent a year researching the science behind hoarding and the current approaches to treatment at Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre.

Something that came up again and again in my research was the problem of intervention. When should a family member or the authorities disregard a person’s wishes to live in a way judged to be unsafe? Can it ever be the right thing to force help on someone?

I realised that this dilemma applies well beyond hoarding behaviour. It goes to the heart of what it is to be a part of a family, a community—a global society, even. Are we each other’s business? If so, what does that mean in terms of rights and responsibilities to each other? In terms of care?

To explore this, I made the person who overrides Nic’s wishes about her hoard, not someone whose responsibility would be more clear-cut (like a child or parent) but instead a barely-adult niece and nephew. Nobody would judge these young people for walking away from a complicated and (literally) filthy problem. So why don’t they? Why do they think their aunt’s mess is their business?

And here’s where the autobiographical aspect ambushed me. Not in the specifics of the action but in the unfolding love story between a childless woman and her sister’s children. I’ve written non-fiction about how central being an aunty is to my life, but Love Objects comes closer to truly representing the complicated beauty and intensity of these relationships than anything I’ve ever written.

This was always going to be a novel about someone who has so much stuff it nearly kills her. In the writing, it also became an intensely personal story about family, forgiveness and what we owe to those we love.

Thank you for reading.

Emily Maguire



Nic is a forty-five-year-old trivia buff, amateur nail artist and fairy godmother to the neighbourhood’s stray cats. She’s also the owner of a decade’s worth of daily newspapers, enough clothes and shoes to fill Big W three times over and a pen collection which, if laid end-to-end, would probably circle her house twice.

The person she’s closest to in the world is her beloved niece Lena, who she meets for lunch every Sunday. One day Nic fails to show up. When Lena travels to her aunt’s house to see if Nic’s all right, she gets the shock of her life, and sets in train a series of events that will prove cataclysmic for them both.

By the acclaimed author of An Isolated Incident, Love Objects is a clear-eyed, heart-wrenching and deeply compassionate novel about love and family, betrayal and forgiveness, and the things we do to fill our empty spaces.



Emily Maguire is the author of six novels, including the Stella Prize and Miles Franklin Award-shortlisted An Isolated Incident, and three non-fiction books. Her articles and essays on sex, feminism, culture and literature have been published widely including in The Sydney Morning HeraldThe AustralianThe Observer and The Age. Emily works as a teacher and as a mentor to young and emerging writers and was the 2018/2019 Writer-in-Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.



Advance reading copies

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