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‘A strange and joyous marvel.’ Richard Flanagan
A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte—who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire.
The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief and love and the bonds of family, tracing a journey across the southern island that takes us full circle.
Flames sings out with joy and sadness. Utterly original in conception, spellbinding in its descriptions of nature and its celebration of the power of language, it announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in contemporary fiction.
‘A strange and joyous marvel.’
‘Ambitious storytelling from a stunning new Australian voice. Flames is constantly surprising—I never knew where the story would take me next. This book has a lovely sense of wonder for the world. It’s brimming with heart and compassion.’
‘Robbie Arnott is a vivid and bold new voice in Australian fiction.’
‘Visionary, vivid, full of audacious transformations: there’s a marvellous energy to this writing that returns the world to us aflame. A brilliant and wholly original debut.’
‘Arnott skilfully switches between different voices and genres in a trick reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The range he displays is impressive, swinging from fable to gothic horror to hardboiled detective story.’
‘Flames is an exuberantly creative and confident debut. This is a story that sparks with invention…Invigorating, strange and occasionally brutal.’
‘This is the kind of book that you’ll be able to read a second, third, even fourth time, and it will still never reveal all its secrets. Composed with meticulous attention to detail, and a mastery of form rarely found in a debut novel, Flames will keep you stewing long after you’ve finished reading it.’