A compassionate and surprisingly funny novel that is impossible to put down and even harder to forget, from the award-winning author of Islands.
They were still who they always had been, still those sisters, but on this afternoon, in this car, driving with the windows down between cane fields under a deepening sky with purple cut-out mountains in the distance, they were wearing it so lightly, their bossiness and flakiness and wildness; they were wearing it like they used to, like it was supple, slippery, not completely fixed. Like it could be taken off.’
In the car Meg had been laughing too. Meg and Amber laughing in the front and Nina in the back hiding secret tears of hope behind her sunglasses. They had been close then, the three of them, together in that moment of lightness…
Meg and Nina have been outshone by their younger sister Amber since childhood. They have become used to living on the margins of their parents’ interest, used to others turning away from them and towards charismatic Amber.
But Amber’s life has not gone the way they all thought it would, and now the three of them are together for the first time in years, on the road to a remote holiday rental in Far North Queensland, where Meg and Nina plan on helping Amber overcome her addiction. As good intentions gradually become terrifying reality, these sisters will test the limits of love and the line between care and control.
Peggy Frew is a consummate observer of human frailty and fragile love, and in Wildflowers she has created a riveting, compassionate and affecting novel that is impossible to put down and even harder to forget.
Praise for Islands
‘An unforgettable portrait of youth and family disintegration, told with piercing insight and tenderness. Peggy Frew is a rare and precious talent.’ Kristina Olsson, author of Shell
‘This novel knows, at its heart, that stories always belong to more than one person. Rich, complex and properly thought-provoking, it is Peggy Frew’s ?nest work to date.’ Tegan Bennett Daylight, author of The Details
‘Islands is a riveting and brilliant portrait of a family in crisis.’ The Age
‘Frew has fashioned another heartbreaker . . . the scattered chronology plays with the tragic inevitability of damaged people hurting others. Just the tip of an iceberg of sadness is glimpsed, and the story is the more powerful for its restraint.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘Frew’s talent for descriptive prose and psychogeography is evident throughout . . . her experimentation makes Islands stand out, puncturing the narrative at key moments before exploding the notion of the Family Story. Her writing verges on the sublime.’ The Saturday Paper
‘Overwhelming . . . a deep and meditative piece of literature. As we watch the family unravel, we are all the time hoping that Anna will come back, that this catastrophe can be fixed . . . utterly engrossing.’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘In this multi-voiced story, Frew’s outstanding ability to empathise with characters who are unable to empathise with each other shines through . . . a work of great compassion and insight.’ Books + Publishing
‘A beautiful study of sorrow that describes the disintegration of a family and the ongoing trauma of a disappearance.’ Readings