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Robbie Arnott

  • awardWinner, Fiction, Age Book of the Year, 2023
  • awardWinner, Adult Fiction Book of the Year, BookPeople Book of the Year Awards, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, Voss Literary Prize, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, Literary Fiction Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, Fiction, Indie Book Awards, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, Dylan Thomas Prize, United Kingdom, 2023
  • awardShortlisted, ALS Gold Medal, 2023
  • awardCommended, Fiction, Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, 2023
  • awardLonglisted, ARA Historical Novel Prize, 2023
  • awardLonglisted, Fiction, Booktopia Favourite Australian Book Award, 2022
  • awardLonglisted, Best Designed Literary Fiction/Poetry Cover, Australian Book Design Awards, 2023
  • awardLonglisted, The Dick and Joan Green Award, 2024
  • In the heat of a long summer Ned hunts rabbits in a river valley, hoping the pelts will earn him enough money to buy a small boat.

    His two brothers are away at war, their whereabouts unknown. His father and older sister struggle to hold things together on the family orchard, Limberlost.

    Desperate to ignore it all—to avoid the future rushing towards him—Ned dreams of open water.

    As his story unfolds over the following decades, we see how Ned’s choices that summer come to shape the course of his life, the fate of his family and the future of the valley, with its seasons of death and rebirth.

    The third novel by the award-winning author of Flames and The Rain Heron, Limberlost is an extraordinary chronicle of life and land: of carnage and kindness, blood ties and love.


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    Robbie Arnott
    About the Author

    Robbie Arnott’s acclaimed debut, Flames (2018), won a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist award and a Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prize, and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, a Queensland Literary Award, the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and the Not the Booker...

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    5 October 2022
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    Praise for Robbie Arnott

    ‘Robbie Arnott is the sort of young writer we all hoped would emerge in Australia, a Conrad-like storyteller whose tales always tremble on the edge of the mythic and legendary. And as well as being a splendid narrator of tales, he has a quality too easily overlooked now. He writes beautifully! May his readers and his rewards abound!’

    Limberlost is as close to flawless as any book I have read in years. The poise and precision of Arnott’s writing lends restraint to the fury at Limberlost’s heart.’

    ‘Spectacular and stunning…Deeply moving.’

    ‘Ned—with his shame and pride—blazes his way into your heart. A tender, soaring novel from one of Australia’s finest writers.’

    ‘An exquisitely moving and intimate story that is more rooted in realism than Arnott’s previous works, but still carries the wonder and subtle magic his writing is known for…Arnott masterfully explores masculinity, brotherhood and familial love…Limberlost is another astonishing book from one of Australia’s most electrifying young authors.’

    ‘An unforgettable story, humble, transporting, and filled with grace and bravery. It’s one of the strongest things I’ve read for a very long time.’

    ‘Robbie Arnott’s best so far…Perfectly balanced, just exquisite.’

    ‘This book is something special: tender, sad, exceptionally well written [and] unexpectedly moving.’

    ‘Robbie Arnott is a tremendously talented and unique voice in Australian literature, and his third novel, Limberlost, exceeded all my expectations. It is a gorgeously written coming-of-age novel…a touching and profound depiction of connection, grief and familial love…Limberlost is much more grounded in realism than Arnott’s previous novels…but still holds the same sense of wonder.’

    Limberlost is an immersive experience, a story that is deeply embedded in the language of its environment, drawing much of its power from the places that surround and inform its characters…Though scaled right down to a single, humble life, Limberlost is lit up by the energy of that life’s relationships. It serves as a reminder of the complicated position humans occupy, tangled as we are in the webs of interdependence, of pain and responsibility and care, that bind us to a world much greater than ourselves.’

    ‘In Limberlost magic lies in lyrical language and the powerfully real characters brought to life through it…This is a novel about the deepest of emotions, about love, the fear of loss, and about joy.’

    ‘It’s immersive, it’s emotional…A beautiful book…Glorious.’

    ‘Arnott’s style has tempered into something rich and singing…[His] writing of the natural world is elegiac and elemental…[Limberlost has] a breathtakingly moving final scene.’

    ‘Quiet wisdom [conveyed in a] potent and exquisitely crafted depiction of the delicate relationship between people and place.’

    ‘The ambition of Limberlost and the complex questioning that underpins it are fascinating and lend the book a hauntedness that is deeply affecting. Ned’s sensitivity, his striving and his jumbled, tightly held emotions are always handled with great subtlety, and Arnott’s deep compassion for his characters and willingness to leave space for all that is unanswerable make Limberlost a striking book, with lingering resonance and great heart.’

    ‘[Limberlost] is a beautifully-written and moving novel, and certainly one of the best books I’ve read all year…A coming-of-age story which lasts a lifetime.’

    Limberlost is a tender study of the dangers of averting our gaze…[with] vivid writing of the more-than-human world.’

    ‘[Arnott’s novels] are just so good…There is so much tenderness and beauty and love [in Limberlost]…A gorgeous read…Arnott is a beautiful writer…I shed a little tear at the end.’

    ‘Outstanding…The writing in this book is so beautiful…so evocative.’

    ‘[Limberlost] is thoughtful, insightful realism in exquisite prose…[it] is a beautiful textured novel.’

    ‘Arnott is one of the most exciting authors in Australia…He completes his literary hat-trick with Limberlost, a stunning novel…This is a book about violence and fear, but there’s a great tenderness, too…Not a word is wasted. Limberlost is powerful, lyrical and packs a hell of an emotional punch. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.’

    ‘Creatures loom wondrously in this lyrical novel…The animal kingdom around Ned bursts with language…Powerful…As the novel progresses Arnott ventures into more wistful territory…[He expertly] captures Ned’s autumn of life.’

    ‘Arnott’s writing has understated elegance and lilts to poetic rhythms. Its beauty hides an emotional punch made more powerful by its slow reveal…The writing is magnificent, and the characterisation of Ned is superb. A must-read novel.’

    ‘Extraordinarily imaginative…His writing is so exquisite…Full of striking images.’

    ‘The magic is definitely present in [Limberlost] in the power of [Robbie Arnott’s] writing…Australian fiction at its best.’

    ‘[Arnott’s] ability to write sublimely about nature has never been in doubt. But what characterises Limberlost as a triumph is how the author manages to illustrate the simple poignancy of human drama.’

    Limberlost is frequently exquisite…Its writing is alert to the language and imagery of mythology, and attuned to the living world…Arnott writes beautiful sentences.’

    ‘The descriptions of the natural world are wonderfully vivid.’

    ‘A luminously told, whole-life story of a young boy discovering how to be his own man…Arnott has an eye and an ear for description that can elevate otherwise quiet moments to something genuinely transcendent.’

    ‘Tender and often exquisitely moving…An intimate portrait…Limberlost doesn’t claim to answer all of the complex questions it raises…However, in its haunted quality and understated sense of wonder, it does succeed in capturing some of the complexity of our relationships with the natural world.’

    ‘Arnott’s third novel carries echoes of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpiece…It could be read as a sort of The Young Man and the Sea: a beautiful, pared-back exploration of masculinity, and the sustaining nature of dreams…Limberlost is a sensory rollercoaster. Arnott’s writing is unadorned, but thrillingly visceral…The joy of Limberlost, beyond the writing, is that, in Arnott’s rendering, nature is not always something to be wondered at, then subdued. The book is flecked with violence and rot, but there is much tenderness, too.’

    ‘Masterful storytelling.’

    ‘Unutterably beautiful.’

    ‘There is mastery in the way [Robbie Arnott] captures the beauty and ferocity of the natural environment…Limberlost tracks the texture of memory and time…The essence of longing saturates the narrative, for a time lost and a future yet to be inhabited.’

    ‘Finely told…[Reminds] us that the quintessence of our country…should remain indelible in our collective memory and perhaps be elevated into the realm of the heroic.’

    ‘Filled with wonder and reverence…Arnott has traded in the magical realism of his previous work for a deep sense of the personal, and the result is equally transcendent and immersive.’

    ‘Highly recommended…[Robbie Arnott is] at the peak of his game.’

    ‘Robbie Arnott is establishing himself as one of Australia’s best novelists…Beautifully written…For all those people who are waiting for the next Tim Winton novel.’

    ‘Robbie Arnott cements his reputation as one of Australia’s most affecting storytellers…Arnott uses the colours and creatures of the natural world to populate Ned’s world.’

    ‘Sentences sublime.’

    ‘A gem.’

    ‘[Limberlost] further underlines [Arnott’s] mastery of nature writing.’

    ‘Singing prose…This coming-of-age story confirms Robbie Arnott as a masterly writer of eco-fiction.’

    ‘One of the great reading experiences of the year…Just perfect.’

    ‘A pitch-perfect story steeped in beautiful writing about the natural world.’

    ‘The end of the story fashions an extraordinary emotional catharsis in the lead character, bringing a closure that I’ve not seen executed well elsewhere in literature. This novel will win a swag of awards in 2023, mark my words.’

    ‘Never have I read the natural world, or masculinity, written like it…Robbie Arnott has fundamentally (and with such terrible, aching tenderness) nailed it.’

    ‘Absolutely exquisite on every level.’

    ‘Poignant…Arnott’s beautifully descriptive language shows his love of the Tasmanian landscape, as he allows Ned to find deep solace in the nature that surrounds him.’

    ‘Sturdy writing about humble, decent people. [Limberlost] is the work of an author sufficiently confident in his powers that he tailors his style to the story. In so doing [Robbie Arnott] has produced a gem sure to give readers joy for years to come.’

    Limberlost is a book about many things—a quoll, a boat, a war, a whale—but it is often at its most profound when exploring the complex relationships between its male characters. The injuries they carry, the many ways in which they are smothered and unhappy. But also gentler shades of masculinity—their humility, dignity, quiet strength and acts of love.’

    ‘Arnott writes in a lyrical and evocative way, immersing readers in the abundant and untamed beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness…He masterfully captures the awe and wonder of the natural environment…Arnott is establishing himself as one of Australia’s best novelists; Limberlost is beautifully written and for fans of Richard Flanagan and Tim Winton.’

    ‘Arnott connects characters with each other and with nature in burnished, spare prose, relying on precision and quietness, rather than showiness or sentiment, to hit its marks.’

    ‘Epic in its themes…Seemingly small moments echo and become amplified through the years. [Limberlost] makes you feel all is momentarily right with the world.’

    ‘Brimming with elegant considered prose…Left me lingering in a state of contemplative melancholy for days, my favourite state to be in after reading a good book.’

    Limberlost is remembrance: of childhood and manhood; of land both lost and gained. It crafts a boy’s adolescence of hopeful imagining countered by the inevitable truth of duty and loss.’

    Other editions ofLimberlost
    • Limberlost
      ISBN: 9781922791047
      5 October 2022
      Buy ebook