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Staying: A Memoir

Jessie Cole

  • awardShortlisted, Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-fiction, 2019
  • awardLonglisted, Colin Roderick Award, 2019
  • As children, Jessie Cole and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever half-sisters, Billie and Zoe, who came to visit every holidays. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her happy, loving family fell apart.

    This heartbreaking memoir asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life. It’s about the importance of home, family and forgiveness—and finding peace in a place of pain.

    By the critically acclaimed author of Darkness on the Edge of Town and Deeper Water.


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    Jessie Cole
    About the Author

    Jessie Cole is a writer. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim. Staying, a memoir, was longlisted for the 2019 Colin Roderick Award and shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s...

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    Text publication date:
    30 April 2018
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    Praise for Jessie Cole

    ‘A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’

    ‘A work of shining brilliance.’

    Staying aches and pulses with life…Cole is a writer of immense talent.’

    Staying is a well-written, extremely moving memoir that steers resolutely clear of stereotypes and self-pity…For all the darkness, there is light too. Cole is a gifted writer with a sensual turn of phrase, and her exploration of the reverberating effects of suicide is both illuminating and absorbing. It will appeal to readers who loved her previous novels.’

    ‘This touching memoir from Australian author Jessie Cole, whose childhood was irrevocably changed when her sister committed suicide, offers a rare personal take on unthinkable tragedy.’

    ‘Graceful, revealing, pitch perfect. Cole is an author who pays sharp attention to the world around her.’

    ‘[Cole] writes beautifully about the unravelling of this existence…This is a tender book about family, loss and trauma, and it deserves a wide readership despite its heavy themes.’

    ‘This memoir absolutely sparkles, and reminded me how powerful and moving books can be.’

    ‘When Australia’s cultural narratives insist an artist must leave home to succeed, Cole shows one forged by staying put…It’s surprising that, in the midst of such sorrow, what resounds is a sensation of fecundity. But perhaps it’s not, from a writer of such talent and grace.’

    Staying is a heartbreaking testament to the despair, helplessness and guilt of those left behind.’

    Staying is rich and complex – and often surprisingly funny given its dark subject matter. Above all, this memoir is a meditation on what it means to be traumatised by loss, and ultimately to be healed by life.’

    ‘This is a book buoyant with a love for family and the natural world. Its pages are filled with light: the vividness of the living being who wants to live. What cannot be separated from these transports of contentment, though, is an irrefutable darkness…It is a ­literary achievement, but always a human story. Its message is that life has a tenacious power to draw us out of states of bereavement that, if surrendered to, have the capacity to destroy us ­entirely.’

    Staying isn’t just a tale of paradise lost – it’s about the birth of an artist in the midst of trauma, crafted with the eye and prose of a novelist. It’s also a hymn to a landscape, and to the immense difficulty in deciding simply to stay.’

    ‘A stunningly written piece of work…Honest, open and raw.’

    ‘Heartbreaking…a truly beautiful book.’

    ‘A delicate, difficult portrait of a family suffering delicate, difficult circumstances.’

    ‘I have read many memoirs this year, but none as scrupulously honest as this one…The sensitivity and brilliance of Cole’s writing meant I was drawn into her world and was able to share her anguish…I am pleased Cole was talented enough, and brave enough, to share her words, providing insight into a subject that will doubtless touch many readers.’

    ‘Cole paints such an authentic picture of her grieving family I wanted to read more about the years that followed, which shows her great achievement in Staying.’

    ‘An honest, raw and well-crafted memoir about a family torn apart.’

    ‘[A] quiet, luminous memoir…Brave and radical.’

    ‘Jessie Cole’s Staying (Text), a memoir about surviving the suicide of loved ones, made a great impact.’

    ‘I loved Jessie Cole’s excruciating, immaculately crafted memoir.’

    ‘Jessie Cole writes about place the way a ballet dancer with a side interest in botany might.’

    ‘I read Jessie Cole’s Staying in a single day, with our foster daughter sleeping on my chest. Jessie’s gorgeous and heartbreaking writing about love and family and what repair looks was a light for me during my own grief.’

    Other editions ofStaying
    • Staying
      ISBN: 9781925626544
      30 April 2018
      Buy ebook
    Other Titles byJessie Cole