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The Restorer

The Restorer

Michael Sala

  • awardLonglisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, ABIA Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, NSW Premier's Literary Awards: Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, 2018
  • awardShortlisted, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, 2017
  • 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
    About the Author

    Michael Sala was born in the Netherlands in 1975 to a Greek father and a Dutch mother, and first came to Australia in the 1980s. He lives in Newcastle. His critically acclaimed debut, The Last Thread, won the 2013 NSW Premier’s Award for New Writing and was the regional winner (Pacific) of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.

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    Text publication date:
    27 February 2017
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    Praise for Michael Sala
    andThe Restorer

    ‘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.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘This is a sensitively rendered novel with a fine eye for emotional and physical detail. The questions it raises are as disturbing as they are compelling.’

    ‘Now, I’m not self-promoting here, but I will be on stage [at Sydney Writers Festival] with Newcastle writer Michael Sala. Indeed, the only person I’m promoting is Sala, as his unsettling family novel The Restorer is superb.

    ‘His style is spare and direct, as if parading its lack of trickiness and fanfare; but underneath it swells a great, unwieldy tide of emotion.’

    ‘The Restorer is a powerful, emotionally charged and thought provoking book.’

    ‘Michael Sala taps into the tension and fear of the times to help build the mood…The cracks are widening long before the earth moves in this novel of a family locked into patterns of violence.’

    ‘The Restorer is a powerful, emotionally charged and thought provoking book. Yet again shining a light on a pervasive strain in Australian society, Sala effectively builds the tension based on a certain fatalistic inevitability. The storm was always coming and it was always going to break.’

    ‘In this remarkable novel, Michael Sala builds tension masterfully until an explosive final act…This is powerful and poetic fiction that showcases a writer at the height of his powers.’

    ‘The standout novel for me was Michael Sala’s ferocious family drama The Restorer. In a year that made me think again and again about why men do terrible things, Sala’s emotional tour-de-force dares to confront some of those causes and the implications of violence at a social level.’

    ‘A scrupulously written, scarifying story of impending tragedy, which is to give nothing away…A picture of domestic tension, violence and disintegration.’

    Other editions ofThe Restorer
    • The Restorer
      ISBN: 9781922253606
      27 February 2017
      Buy ebook
    Other Titles byMichael Sala