Penguin, $19.95 pb, 264 pp
Early winter: Robin is living with his father in the mountains. Where is his mother and why did she leave? This mystery drives the conflict between Robin and his father, who won’t tell Robin what he knows. The Nest is a family drama with a Gothic mystery at its heart. The tension between these elements – the unusual structure that Jennings has created to hold them together – gives the novel an odd power and surprising range. But The Nest derives much of its appeal from its account of daily life in the Australian snowfields, a setting with its own practical magic. The characters move from cosy rooms into wild and dangerous country. This contrast suggests the literary styles that Jennings brings together here: The Nest is a realist novel with Romantic images and themes.