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Monday, September 7, 2020

'Flyaway' by Kathleen Jennings


Received from the publisher 


From the BLURB:

Strange what chooses to flourish here. Which plants. Which stories. 

Bettina Scott lives a tidy, quiet life in Runagate, tending to her delicate mother and their well-kept garden after her father and brothers disappear - until a note arrives that sends Bettina into the scrublands beyond, searching for answers about what really happened to this town, and to her family. For this is a land where superstitions hunt and folk tales dream - and power is there for the taking, for those willing to look.

***

Not sure this is the *cheeriest* lockdown reading but by golly, did I love it anyway! 

‘Flyaway’ by Kathleen Jennings is a novella of interconnected, fantastical Australiana fairytales that a young woman is unravelling to find and understand her family ... it’s had a simultaneous release in the US, and I recently saw that one of my fave review sites - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books - gave it a stellar A- rating and a *wonderful* write-up! “I call this a feminist story because so much of it involves people who are destroyed or silenced by patriarchal systems of capitalism, colonialism, and marriage – that is to say, by greed or by possessiveness.” 

Like SMTB, I was also pleasantly relieved to find that this isn’t a book of fairytales and folklore that relies on sexual abuse of women ... that doesn’t mean it’s not violent, or there isn’t psychological torture - but to not rely on women’s bodies being torn down in the “typical” ways was a relief of the tallest order. 

This is a must-read novella from an Australian talent who many of us have been anticipating would absolutely break-out, and I’m so thrilled this book has done exactly that. I can see a groundswell starting around Jennings, and anticipation growing for *whatever* she does next. ‘Flyaway’ is outstanding Gothic Australian fantastical fiction and one that imprints on the reader.

5/5