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After a year apart, Maryanne returns to her husband, Roy, bringing their eight-year-old son Daniel and his teenage sister Freya with her. The family move from Sydney to Newcastle, where Roy has bought a derelict house on the coast. As Roy painstakingly patches the holes in the floorboards and plasters over cracks in the walls, Maryanne believes, for a while, that they can rebuild a life together.
But Freya doesn’t want a fresh start—she just wants out—and Daniel drifts around the sprawling, run-down house in a dream, infuriating his father, who soon forgets the promises he has made.
Some cracks can never be smoothed over, and tension grows between Roy and Maryanne until their uneasy peace is ruptured—with devastating consequences.
‘Michael Sala is a sensitive, perceptive observer of human relationships and I have long admired his work. The Restorer is a beautifully written novel about growing up, starting again—and how the riptide of personal history can pull us further and further from safety, no matter how hard we fight.’
‘There is so much to praise about this book. Michael Sala’s prose is clear and unadorned, the setting exquisitely rendered, but it is his characters—all of them flawed and complex and deeply, deeply human—who will stay with me for a very long time. I would defy anyone to read this story and remain unmoved. The Restorer is an incredibly powerful novel and, I believe, an important one.’
‘A wise and timely novel that builds and breaks like a summer storm—just as beautiful, just as brutal.’
‘Michael Sala has a rare gift: in prose that takes your breath away, he tells a story of heart-rending sorrow without a trace of sentimentality.’
‘A confronting and compelling story of a family. Sala captures perfectly the puzzled silence of the uncomprehending child in a narrative swollen with unspoken secrets.’
‘A gutsy, moving, beautifully wrought and utterly compelling work.’
‘Sala’s story of mundane domestic tension explodes in ways both already anticipated and powerfully surprising. The narrative is real, compelling, sophisticated and deeply human. Having read this work, I will certainly seek out Sala’s debut novel, and watch with interest for new works from this gifted creator. Strongly recommended.’
‘This is powerful, poetic, extraordinary fiction…Sala never falters.’
‘Unputdownable…Sala creates an atmosphere of simmering tension with an undercurrent of unpredictability that seeps into every exchange. [He] is a brilliant writer.’
‘Closely observed, with the visceral force of truth, Michael Sala’s heartbreaking novel captures the tender hope of love and its terrible cost.’
‘Sala’s account is sophisticated and shows the immense complexity of relationships.’
‘Sala’s second novel is assured and polished and adds potency to the outcry against domestic violence.’
‘Michael Sala’s beautifully shaped second novel glows with all the complicated pain and joy of being human…A tremendous depth of insight and compassion on the part of the writer informs the three main characters…The reader knows pain is coming but the power and deep humanity of Sala’s writing defies the instinct to look away.’
‘Domestic violence is an everyday reality for tens of thousands of women in Australia. Recent horrors and public campaigns have raised awareness of this social scourge. Journalists have written extensively on the subject, yet it is novelists, as Michael Sala shows in The Restorer, that can gives us a more acute view of the emotional complexities that bind couples and keep women in threatening domestic situations.’
‘A slow burning work of fiction that moves with troubling intensity and sensitivity to give an insider’s account of a violent marriage.’
‘Entrancing and heartbreakingly sad.’
‘The Restorer is a beautifully written and very powerful fiction that not only shines a light on the deep roots of domestic violence but also plays with the line of what remains in the face of such destruction. Sala’s story will stay with the reader long after the book is finished.’