From the twice-winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Scary Monsters is an affecting, profound and darkly funny exploration into racism, misogyny and ageism.
'A novel of luminous intelligence and profound depth, written with verve, humour and exceptional elegance.' - Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane
When my family emigrated it felt as if we'd been stood on our heads.
Michelle de Kretser's electrifying take on scary monsters turns the novel upside down - just as migration has upended her characters' lives.
Lili's family migrated to Australia from Asia when she was a teenager. Now, in the 1980s, she's teaching in the south of France. She makes friends, observes the treatment handed out to North African immigrants and is creeped out by her downstairs neighbour. All the while, Lili is striving to be A Bold, Intelligent Woman like Simone de Beauvoir.
Lyle works for a sinister government department in near-future Australia. An Asian migrant, he fears repatriation and embraces 'Australian values'. He's also preoccupied by his ambitious wife, his wayward children and his strong-minded elderly mother. Islam has been banned in the country, the air is smoky from a Permanent Fire Zone, and one pandemic has already run its course.
Three scary monsters - racism, misogyny and ageism - roam through this mesmerising novel. Its reversible format enacts the disorientation that migrants experience when changing countries changes the story of their lives. With this suspenseful, funny and profound book, Michelle de Kretser has made something thrilling and new.
Which comes first, the future or the past?
Praise for Scary Monsters:
'A radically brilliant diptych-novel, in complex conversation with itself and with the world we live in, written by one of the living masters of the art of fiction. A beautifully troubling book.' - Max Porter, author of Lanny
'Bold, spare and completely original. One of the most exciting contemporary novels I've read for a very long time.' - Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young
'Written with incandescent moral energy, boundless compassion, and astonishing precision and beauty, Michelle de Kretser's Scary Monsters extends the very possibilities of the novel form. On the contemporary international scene, there are very, very few writers who can match her style, her intelligence, her vision. To read her is to be changed.' - Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others
'In Scary Monsters de Kretser addresses the weightiest of subjects with the lightest and deftest of touches, and the result is funny, playful, painful, angry and, above all, ferociously smart. It's a dazzling novel, by a hugely talented author.' - Sarah Waters, author of The Paying Guests
'Scary Monsters is a marvel. Each of the two very different parts of the novel had me totally riveted, intensely absorbed, wowed by de Kretser's scathing accuracy--whether she's chronicling youth's delights and distortions or a future where prosperity is the new "unethics". It's a wildly remarkable book that unfolds like no other.' - Joan Silber, PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author of Improvement
'I love the way Scary Monsters asks urgent questions about what kind of future we might be sleepwalking towards. And heightens the enquiry by looking back; by unsettling and disturbing our sense of where we are now and where we are headed by dissecting - with exquisite deftness - the barely-concealed misogyny and racism of then, to awaken our senses to now. It's a novel of luminous intelligence and profound depth, written with verve, humour and exceptional elegance.' - Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane
Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. Educated in Melbourne and Paris, Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer. She is the author of The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, which won the Commonwealth Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region) and the UK Encore Prize, and The Lost Dog, which won a swag of awards, including the 2008 NSW Premier's Book of the Year Award and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and the 2008 ALS Gold Medal. Michelle's fourth novel, Questions of Travel, received 14 honours, including the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her latest novel, The Life to Come, was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize and won the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Michelle now lives in Sydney with her partner, the poet and translator Chris Andrews.
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
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