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Scary Monsters

A novel by

'Every page of her story feels charged, like an open circuit waiting for its switch; a lurking wallop. It's magnificent, peerless writing' Guardian

'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.

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.

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.

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?'

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Scary Monsters is a novel of luminous intelligence and profound depth, written with verve, humor, and exceptional elegance." - Monica Ali

"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

"Scary Monsters is 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

"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

"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

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