Cato Kwong and his new wife Sharon Wang are blissfully married, if not a bit sleep deprived, with an infant daughter, Ella. But when Kwong starts working on a series of murders among the Fremantle homeless community, he gets more and more involved, and then the murderer appears to be working his way towards Kwong. Gradually his precious new life starts to look very shaky.
Abhay is a writer and primary caregiver to his daughter, Mira. He lives a comfortable life in Wellington with his wife, Lena – “… simply the daily opportunity to play. That’s one of the biggest things I owe New Zealand …” But Abhay is haunted by an incident from his childhood in India, where he and his half-brother, Ashim, got lost when they wandered away from their father at a train station. As a result of the incident, Ashim was sent away to boarding school and his full sister, Aranya, opted to move with him, leaving Abhay feeling guilty for causing the break-up of his family.
Christel is married to Ted and they have two children, Jim and Maisie. Christel works in TV – making reality TV shows that emphasise people’s suffering. Christel is a rape survivor. Christel was taken advantage of when a teenager. Christel’s father was scarred and traumatised by the holocaust. Christel is losing her mind.
This first novel by Amy Meyerson, follows a summer in the life of Miranda Brooks. Life seems to be ticking along just as it should for Miranda, she’s enjoying teaching history to high school students and has just moved in with her boyfriend Jay, when out of the blue she receives a mystery package by post, which contains a book and a card with a cryptic message.
Cora Seagrave, a happily widowed Victorian woman, travels with her socialist companion, Martha, and puzzling son, Francis, to Aldwinter in Essex to hunt for fossils. She finds herself amongst locals who are terrified of a local sea monster, and she is strangely drawn to the local clergyman, William Ransome, whose wife Stella is increasingly fascinated with the colour blue.
Maggie Potter is an independent funeral director in picturesque tourist village Queenstown. Her life is not what she had dreamed for herself, but she does have her son, her recently-returned-from-the-UK daughter, and her firm circle of female friends. But when one of her friends is diagnosed with cancer, her daughter starts acting oddly, and an annoying Doctor seems to always be where she is, Maggie is confused and feels stretched to look after everyone. Maggie’s life may not be what she had dreamed for herself, but it turns out no-one’s is …
“Wanderer, freak, sailor, philosopher, Native boy in English costume, English boy in native costume. Exhibitionist, lover, clown, Maori boy, Man of the world.” – Hemi (James) Pōneke is recuperating in a house in Victorian London – and recording his story for “My future, my descendant, my mokopuna”. A future that must be better than what he has experienced – as appearing at first to be aged, we discover Hemi is young and has spent all his short eventful life looking at the world through the eyes of ‘the other’.
Sadie Rosenberg is hanging down a crevasse in Antarctica, refusing to cut free her friend Bill who is hanging beneath her, making it impossible for another friend, Sean Tomasin, to haul her to safety. Sadie and Sean, and a large Antarctic diamond in their possession, are saved by another geology team headed by Kirk Barnby – Bill and two others of Sadie’s group perish. Is Sadie “A protestor, political lobbyist, a greeny activist, an internet whistle-blower, internet pirate, a low-level diamond thief … diamond smuggler … terrorist”?, is she even Sadie Rosenberg? And who is Kirk - a geologist, a soldier, a government agent? And whose side is Sean on?
‘The Quaker’ is the nickname given to a serial killer who has taken three female lives, ruined families, stymied the police, and terrorised a city. The city in question is the “disintegrating city” of Glasgow in the late 1960s, and the prevailing culture of male prejudice, misogyny and corruption has been complicit in ‘The Quaker’ getting away with his crimes.