Rae is ten years old, and she’s tough. She’s had to be: life with her mother has taught her the world is not her friend. Now suddenly her mum is gone and Rae is alone, except for her dog Splinter.
Rae can do a lot of things pretty well for a kid. She can take care of herself and Splints, stay under the radar at school and keep the front yard neat enough that the neighbours won’t get curious. But she is gnawed at by fear and sadness; haunted by the shadow of a terrible secret.
Lettie, who lives next door, might know more about Rae than she lets on. But she has her own reasons for keeping the world at arm’s length. When Rae finds out what they are, it seems like she and Lettie could help each other.
But how long can a friendship last when it’s based on secrets?
Tender, funny, heartbreaking—A Million Things is a story of grief and resilience, told with eloquent simplicity. In brave, spiky Rae, Emily Spurr has created a character you will never forget.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
3CR: Published or Not
ABC Radio Melbourne: Evenings (2:07:00)
ABC Radio National: The Book Show (0:36:25)
Booktopia blog (op-ed)
E Online: 16 Books to Add to Your Reading List This August
Final Draft podcast: Part One
Final Draft podcast: Part Two
Readings: Our top picks of the month for book clubs
Writers Digest: On Following Your Intuition (article)
Writers Digest: 3 Tips for Writing Unlikely Friendships in Fiction (article)
‘Poignant, uplifting and beautifully written.’
‘Direct, assured writing, hard-hitting emotion and a wonderful sense of optimism. A Million Things is a debut to treasure, with characters whose dignity shines through their struggles.’
‘An original and impressively assured debut. A gem of a novel.’
‘Beautifully written, equally heartwarming and heart-wrenching novel about family, friendship, love and resilience…An absorbing, wonderful read that showcases the importance of having even one special person to turn to and unconditional love. Keep the tissues close by.’
‘An enthralling, devastating debut…A Million Things is a shattering novel that perfectly captures the fractured moments between loss and letting go; between childhood and growing up, in which anything could change once the pieces fall.’
‘Really good. There are moments in the book where your heart stops.’
‘It is not hard to see why A Million Things was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Unpublished Manuscript Prize last year. Spurr is a subtle writer, and though she writes genuinely dramatic incidents, the story is not overblown, and actions and reactions are written with a light touch…Spurr does a deft job of showing that people can surprise in good ways as well as bad.’
‘For book clubs who know honest friendship is the light in darkness.’
‘A powerful and challenging read from a new writer to watch.’
‘A remarkable book: beautifully written, tender, loving, humorous; heart-breaking, but all those other things as well—which is what we all love to read in the best of fiction.’
‘Rae’s plucky perspective prevents the story from descending into pity-porn territory – despite the tragic backdrop – and there are moments in which the reader will laugh out loud. However, anyone who has experienced grief is likely to cry at least once before the covers close on this story.’
‘Author Emily Spurr tells a tale of grief and resilience with refreshing simplicity.’
‘Emily Spurr’s first novel is written with depth and heart and a plangent simplicity; her characters have a warmth and feisty resilience that she makes utterly believable, and the inevitable tricky ending is handled with confidence and flair.’
‘[An] amazing debut.’
‘Spurr deftly slides into Rae’s 10-year-old consciousness, expertly balancing the innocence and maturity of a child grown up too soon.’
‘Spurr delivers a haunting account of a young girl grappling with abandonment in this excellent debut…Through Rae’s devastating yet hopeful interior dialogue, Spurr delicately illustrates the complexity of loss and isolation.’
‘In this excellent debut…Spurr delicately illustrates the complexity of loss and isolation. Fans of Liane Moriarty should take a look.’
‘Stock up on Kleenex and prepare to feel all the feelings in this heartfelt story of resilience.’
‘My Tissues came out very readily!’
‘An absolutely fantastic novel.’
‘An intense, atmospheric work of fiction about love, grief and resilience.’
‘A Million Things draws the reader into an intimate world of unforgettable characters and heartfelt expressions of love and grief. This is a great selection for book clubs who are looking for a… genuinely touching read.’
‘A fantasy tale which imagines how a ten-year-old might deal with her mentally ill mother’s unthinkable, unavoidably present, departure. The narrative follows her attempts to structure a life, and her interactions with her problematic, if possibly recuperative, neighbour(s). Another exploration of the horrors and joys of family life and community.’