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Romy Ash

  • awardWinner, Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Best Young Australian Novelists Award, 2013
  • awardShort-listed, Miles Franklin Award, 2013
  • awardShort-listed, Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, 2013
  • awardShort-listed, Commonwealth Book Prize, 2013
  • awardShort-listed, Australian Book Industry Awards, Literary Fiction Book of the Year, 2013
  • awardShort-listed, Australian Book Industry Awards, Newcomer of the Year, 2013
  • awardShort-listed, Dobbie Literary Award, 2013
  • awardLong-listed, The Stella Prize, 2013
  • Tom and Jordy have been living with their gran since the day their mother, Loretta, left them on her doorstep and disappeared.

    Now Loretta’s returned, and she wants her boys back.

    Tom and Jordy hit the road with Loretta in her beat-up car. The family of three journeys across the country, squabbling, bonding, searching and reconnecting.

    But Loretta isn’t mother material. She’s broke, unreliable, lost. And there’s something else that’s not quite right with this reunion.

    They reach the west coast and take refuge in a beachside caravan park. Their neighbour, a surly old man, warns the kids to stay away. But when Loretta disappears again the boys have no choice but to ask the old man for help, and now they face new threats and new fears.

    This beautifully written and gripping debut is as moving as it is frightening, and as heartbreaking as it is tender.

    Media highlights

    Guardian review by Robert Drewe
    Time Out Melbourne interview
    The Lifted Brow interview

    . . .

    *Floundering* hooked at the fish market. Photo courtesy of Nic Low, The Bookwallah Writers Festival.

    Floundering hooked at the fish market. Photo courtesy of Nic Low, The Bookwallah Writers Festival.

    Romy Ash
    About the Author

    Romy Ash is the author of Floundering, her first novel, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and Prime Minister’s literary award, amongst others. She was awarded the SMH Best Young Australian Novelists of the year award for 2013. She lives in Melbourne.

    Read Moreright
    Text publication date:
    28 March 2012
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    Praise for Romy Ash

    ‘Suspenseful, tough and moving, this book had to be written. I can see the film already.’

    ‘Ash writes with a child’s voice that is utterly convincing, cast adrift in a world you will sorrowfully recognise at once as the one we all share. These boys are so real, you will lie awake worrying about them, hoping that somehow they will find their way through it.’

    ‘Ash’s novel deftly captures the fading innocence of a boy who witnesses more than he understands; what he leaves unsaid is as revealing as what he articulates. Floundering blends spare but elegant prose with a gripping plot and an assured sense of place. It’s an impressive first novel that heralds the arrival of a talented new voice in Australian literary fiction. 4 stars.‘

    ‘Romy Ash’s talent as writer is obvious from the novel’s opening pages. Her debut novel is perfectly precise and devastatingly amazing. The plight of Tom and Jordy will break your heart but you will stick by them until the end.’ Read the full review here.

    ‘The writing in Floundering is impressive. The voice of the young narrator rings consistent and true, the characters feel honestly portrayed, and the countryside and unrelenting heat are depicted so clearly that they almost become supporting characters, shaping the story as strongly as any person.’

    ‘[Romy Ash’s debut] is full of heart. Her voice is already strong, her writing assured….It is the unusual way that Ash describes their world that captures the reader’s imagination…The story arc is straightforward—a rarer, more difficult feat than it seems-—and the end is the perfect finale. What can’t be learnt is the empathy and honesty of this moving, sometimes chilling first novel…Reminiscent of Favel Parret’s recent Past the Shallows, and as Australian as Kenneth Cook’s Wake in Fright, it’s a cracking debut.’

    ‘With its air of coastal dereliction, its vast skies and bloody bait buckers, Floundering recalls the sense world of Tim Winton….Floundering offers no lessons, but it does uncomfortably concentrate the mind on the limits of love and on the duty of care we all owe each other.’

    ‘Part of Floundering’s unfaltering trepidation hinges on the intense hope that Tom won’t grasp what the reader already has….Ash’s tale may be an inherently moral one but it is never didactic. As the reader rages against the characters along the way who do nothing to help, what remains is the possibility that these floundering boys, brimming with life, will endure.’

    ‘An impressive debut.’

    Floundering is a held breath and should be read in a single sitting, letting the delicate horror pull you along.’

    ‘This is a memorable first novel for Melbourne-based Romy Ash, written with disarming charm in the voice of Tom and with a child’s naïve perceptions. There is a compelling simplicity to its structure that is thoroughly engaging.’

    ‘This book is for anyone who wants to experience fantastic writing. Very few authors have been able to transport me to a place in the way Romy Ash did.’

    ‘A classy, intricately woven tale…this is a compelling read rather than a depressing one. We become very fond of the boys, and smile at Tom’s childish exuberance.’

    ‘If Floundering is a taste of what’s available [Text] books are well worth seeking out… it really is a powerful debut and it had me gripped to the end, dreading what horrors Tom and Jordy were about to meet.’

    Other editions ofFloundering
    • Floundering
      ISBN: 9781921834776
      21 March 2012
      Buy ebook