Miles Franklin Literary Award 2007 Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the Miles Franklin Award 2007 was announced on 19 April. The Prize is awarded for the novel of the year which is of “the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases”. The four books in the shortlist are:

TheftTheft: A Love Story by Peter Carey
Michael—a.k.a. “Butcher”—Boone is an ex–“really famous” painter: opinionated, furious, brilliant, and now reduced to living in the remote country house of his biggest collector and acting as caretaker for his younger brother, Hugh, a damaged man of imposing physicality and childlike emotional volatility. Alone together they’ve forged a delicate and shifting equilibrium, a balance instantly destroyed when a mysterious young woman named Marlene walks out of a rainstorm and into their lives on three-inch Manolo Blahnik heels. Beautiful, smart, and ambitious, she’s also the daughter-in-law of the late great painter Jacques Liebovitz, one of Butcher’s earliest influences. She’s sweet to Hugh and falls in love with Butcher, and they reciprocate in kind. And she sets in motion a chain of events that could be the making—or the ruin—of them all.
“A book that is at once cruelly levelling, darkly witty and unsettlingly personal . . . Hilarious and disquieting, a madcap ride.” —THE AGE. More Reviews...

Dreams of SpeakingDreams of Speaking by Gail Jones
Alice is entranced by the aesthetics of technology and, in every aeroplane flight, every Xerox machine, every neon sign, sees the poetry of modernity. Mr Sakamoto, a survivor of the atomic bomb, is an expert on Alexander Graham Bell. Like Alice, he is culturally and geographically displaced. The pair forge an unlikely friendship as Mr Sakamoto regales Alice with stories of twentieth-century invention. His own knowledge begins to inform her writing, and these two solitary beings become a mutual support for each other a long way from home.
"If a good novelist makes us look at everyday subjects in new ways, then Jones is an excellent one, and Dreams takes flight, skipping from descriptions of sound waves to Cellophane with bravura flair." - TIME magazine. More Reviews...

CarelessCareless by Deborah Robertson
Eight-year-old Pearl tries very hard to get things right. She watches over her small brother and manages her mother's happiness, while carefully guarding her private passions. But the events of a summer's day are about to change Pearl's life, and nothing may ever be right again. In a cooler, greener suburb, Sonia is learning to live alone after the death of her husband, and at the edge of the city, close to the beaches, the young artist Adam Logan is hoping that his recent celebrity will open the doors to a new life. In ways connected but unforeseen, Pearl's tragedy will soon affect the worlds of these two strangers. Combining the intimacy of a family's heartache, with the suspense of a thriller, Careless is a gripping, seductive novel about the ties of caring and responsibility, that are formed, and broken, in our society. It is a novel about our times.
"What a heart swell of a book, so much wisdom and compassion and loveliness and sadness in it, along with writing that makes you suck in your breath at its beauty and precision. As a writer, you just go 'wow'. It's a winner - a beautiful, passionate book that swells your heart." - NIKKI GEMMELL, author of The Bride Stripped Bare.

CarpentariaCarpentaria by Alexis Wright
When Elias Smith, a shipwrecked mariner, walks out of the sea and into the Port of Desperance, a small coastal town in the Gulf of Carpenteria, the whole town turns out to watch his arrival. Carpenteria tells the story of what becomes of his life and his eventual return to the sea against the backdrop of two warring Aboriginal groups who have been feuding over a land dispute for more than 400 years. A great, funny, sprawling and ambitious novel of black and white culture, Carpenteria is narrated by the oracles - the old, traditionally minded people who keep all stories and beliefs from the past to the present.

Visit the Miles Franklin award web site to read more about these novels and what the judges had to say about them. Then celebrate Australian culture by reading them! Click on the links above to reserve a title.