From fast-paced road trips through Australia’s outback to life in a small idyllic town, the Toronto International Festival of Authors found five books to introduce you to the world’s sixth-largest country, without boarding a plane.
If you read our recent visit to South Korea through books, you might be ready for your next literary flight. Check out the list below, and let us know which titles will be added to your reading pile!
A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey
Take a road trip around Australia in this fast-paced novel by Peter Carey. What can go wrong when a wife who loves to drive fast, her salesman husband and a quiz show champion friend all take on the Redex Trial together? As they navigate roads during the endurance race that no car is designed to survive, they soon find themselves on different personal journeys as their relationships and perspectives are challenged. While full of fun and surprises, this unforgettable journey also shines a light on Australia’s dark history and treatment of Indigenous communities.
A Home Like Ours by Fiona Lowe
HQ Fiction (2021)
Get a peek into the different lives of three women in a rural small town along the Murray River. From a struggle with homelessness to a marriage at its breaking point, this novel explores the strength they each face as they try to find a place to call home. A wonderful exploration of changing perspectives and the power of friendship, this book will thrill you with small-town drama and characters with a lot of heart.
A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories by Sean O’Beirne
Black Inc. (2020)
This collection of stories is a perfect way to experience life in Australia from its past to present. O’Beirne explores love, self-preservation, climate change and politics through humour, sarcasm and a range of unique voices. Settle in to read about life on a passenger ship, a person’s experience in a boy scout troop, and the plight of asylum seekers in a Nauru detention camp, from a distinctly Australian perspective.
The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton
Farrar Straus & Giroux (2018)
As the character flees from the scene of his father’s violent death into the outback of Western Australia, you will be part of the action as he travels across the harsh saltlands looking to find the freedom he always dreamed of. With a journey to find the woman he loves, and an unlikely friend who helps him survive, this novel will give you a look at an Australian life you would never want to experience in person.
Carpentaria: A Novel by Alexis Wright
Travel to a sparsely populated northern Queensland town with this book, but instead of small-town drama, you will dive into a world of myth and magical realism. Through a power struggle, Wright exposes the heartbreaking realities of Indigenous life and the fight to protect natural resources, sacred sites and people. Full of life and unforgettable characters, this novel will have you cheering for the characters as they overcome challenges and transcend circumstances.