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Beatrix & Fred

Beatrix is a loner. She has a love-hate relationship with her one friend, Ray, a hate-hate relationship with everyone else in her office and a genuine attachment to a stuffed canary named Horatio. She drinks alone far too much. Lately she’s been finding the edge of the railway platform dangerously seductive.

Her life needs to change. Then she crosses paths with an old woman who seems to be stalking her, and that’s exactly what happens. Eighty-something Fred is smart, earthy, funny and not the harmless elderly lady she appears to be. She is, in fact, quite literally something else. But what?

When something happens to Ray, Fred decides to reveal herself. And Beatrix realises she has some agonising choices to make.

Beatrix & Fred is an off-kilter love story wrapped in a satisfying layer of moral complexity and tied up with a ribbon of sheer fun. Warm, witty, more than slightly weird—it takes the age-old question of what it is to be human beyond humanity itself.


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Emily Spurr
About the Author

Originally from Tasmania, Emily Spurr lives in Melbourne with her partner, their twins and the ghost of a deaf, geriatric cat. Emily’s first novel A Million Things was shortlisted for the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Prize, voted BookBrowse Best Debut Novel of 2021, longlisted for the 2022 Margaret and Colin Roderick...

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29 August 2023
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Praise for Emily Spurr
andBeatrix & Fred

‘A luminous, wise and blackly funny triumph. I adored it.’

‘Rippling, joyous, irresistible prose…Intensely readable.’

‘This book is wild, it is wonderful, it is thought provoking. It is full of surprises…An absolute joy.’

‘It is not hard to see why A Million Things was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Unpublished Manuscript Prize last year.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.’

‘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.’

‘In this excellent debut…Spurr delicately illustrates the complexity of loss and isolation. Fans of Liane Moriarty should take a look.’

‘This book is wild, it is wonderful, it is thought provoking. It is full of surprises…An absolute joy.’

Beatrix & Fred is a gorgeous, warm, witty off-beat novel about loneliness, aging and the precarious nature of being human…Refreshing, quirky and entirely relatable.’

‘A peculiar yet enchanting tale of friendship…Delicately merges the bizarre with the familiar, touching on emotions we’ve all felt in life…Emily Spurr perfectly marries the feelings of isolation and friendship and how we, as humans, can feel so many things at once.’

‘If people enjoyed Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason or Fleabag…This is the kind of book that they might really enjoy…Pacy, easy to read, refreshing and strangely comforting.’

‘A funny and moving novel that defies conventional tropes and genres…This is an incredibly strange novel but in the best way possible…Spurr has woven a beautiful story that ultimately provokes both Beatrix and the reader to question what it truly means to be human.’

‘The novel works at least initially to keep you off-kilter, waiting for its moment…what comes next in the novel is truly original…It is the heart in Beatrix & Fred though that sets this novel apart.’

‘A weird and quite wonderful novel…Throughout, Spurr’s writing is vivid and energetic …the sense of possibility, grace and hope that the novel ends on brings its own splendid rewards.’

‘Unlike anything else I have read…Weirdly, humorously different, Beatrix & Fred is going to stick with me for a long time.’

‘Enthralling…Genuinely unique.’

‘It’s going to blow your socks off….Beautifully metaphoric about our lives.’

‘An offbeat novel tackling ageing and loneliness, among other things, with warmth, intelligence, and earthy humour.’

Beatrix & Fred is one of the most unique and curious novels of 2023, and that is precisely what makes it one of the best…Spurr is an up-and-coming star on the Australian literary scene, and it’s her distinctive style and voice that separates her from the rest.’

‘The second novel from fearless author Emily Spurr…Another powerful and thought-provoking read.’

Beatrix & Fred would undoubtedly be the most refreshingly unique novel I’ve ever read. An utter delight, agonisingly tender, sharply witty, with a story arc that just kept on delivering…I adored this novel and would have to say that it’s right up there now in the ever-elusive category of “favourite books ever”.’

‘Compulsively readable…I couldn’t put it down. We can’t help but root for Beatrix as she starts to advocate for herself.’

‘Far from predictable. At its best Beatrix & Fred is surprising, amusing and moving.’

‘Possibly the strangest love story I’ve ever read—funny and chilling, it made me consider what it means to be human.’

Beatrix & Fred’s unusual premise allowed for a lovely exploration of what it means to connect and belong and even what it means to be human…Beautifully written…If you’re looking for something rather unexpected, you should give this one a go.’

‘I loved this weird and wonderful second novel from local Melbourne writer, Emily Spurr. I don’t know how she pulled this off but she did, so well. Really enjoyed the characters and the conceit.’

‘A strange, funny, beautiful and profound book…I’ve never read anything quite like this—it opens up so many questions about the nature of consciousness and selfhood.’

Other editions ofBeatrix & Fred
  • Beatrix & Fred
    ISBN: 9781922791535
    29 August 2023
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byEmily Spurr