Hachette Australia

Nest by Inga Simpson

by
October 2014, no. 365

Inga Simpson’s second novel is set in the lush subtropical hinterland of Australia’s east coast. Jen, a reclusive artist, goes back to where she grew up and where her father was a timber-cutter, to find peace among the birds and trees. But mysteries and disappearances trouble her idyllic life.

Like her artist protagonist, Simpson has acute powers of observation and an ability to capture nature on the page. The vivid colours of rainforest birds and the intricate growth of forests, set to a soundtrack of birdsong, lulls the reader. However, the nesting theme threads together a narrative more fragile than compelling.

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Shadows, shallows, tides, secrets, aching hearts, and tragedy. ‘The love and the grief and the joy and the pain and all the emotion’ – oh the emotion – in Hannah Richell’s new novel, centred around a secluded lake, can leave one feeling thoroughly water-logged. Richell’s close follow-up to Secrets of the Tides (2012) uses similar techniques to depict another troubled family that must confront secrets from its past.

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