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‘Who is this please?’
‘Jessica. Jessica Weir.’
‘I’m sorry, miss, but this was the last number—’
‘Matthew’s on his way home. From work. He’s late. He should be home soon.’
And only the ocean breathing into the silence as if her own chest were rising and falling without fail. As if his heart were still beating. As if nothing in the world had changed.
‘We’ve found a car, miss, but there’s no sign of a driver.’
When Jessica’s partner disappears into the dark Tasmanian forest, there is of course the mystery of what happened to him—the deserted car, the enigmatic final image recorded on his phone. There is the strange circle of local women, widows of disappeared men, with their edgy fellowship and unhinged theories. And the forest itself: looming hugely over this tiny settlement on the remote tip of the island.
But for Jessica there is also the tight community in which she is still a stranger and Matthew was not. What secrets do they know about her own life, that she doesn’t. And why do they believe things that should not—cannot—be true. For her own sanity, Jessica needs to know two things. Who was Matthew? And who—or what—has he become?
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
2SER: Tuesday Book Club (from 1:05)
3RRR: Backstory (interview from 15:15)
ABC Radio (review from 16:57)
ABC Radio National: The Drawing Room
ABC Radio National: The Hub on Books
ABC Brisbane: Afternoons (interview from 1:46)
ABC Hobart: Your Aftrnoon (interview from 1:18)
Australian ‘[A] taut new novel…Wintering uses [a] closed community to examine some disturbing aspects of Australian culture: parochialism, machismo, an unwillingness to face up to the past…Kneen also finds room for strength and kindness in this sleek and gripping novel.’ ($)
The Lifted Brow ‘Rich and beautiful prose...Wintering is a story of survival and strength, and that’s what makes it so easy to read and to recommend.’
Overland (October in Fiction)
‘At once a supernatural thriller and a sharp meditation on the legacy abusive men leave behind.’
‘Kneen’s writing, by turns playful and elegant, is never less than stimulating, in the literal and figurative senses of the word.’
‘One of Australia’s hidden literary gems. With each new book, I find myself hoping that readers will finally discover her quirky, sexy and incredibly beautiful writing.’
‘This book is a surprise, [with] drama and twists that leave you exhilarated…Kneen has jumped, unafraid, into many shades of rough territory.’
‘Thought-provoking…satisfying and compelling.’
‘What Kneen manages to do, as does Atwood, or even Murakami, is make her narrative worlds, wherever they lead, seamless and seductive. Both playful and structurally sound, Wintering remains tense and taut throughout, with a strong sense of place, cool engagement and the ghostly traces of environmental and personal degradation.’
‘A compressed and fiercely located thriller…a magnetic and oddly compulsive read.’
‘[A] taut new novel…Wintering uses [a] closed community to examine some disturbing aspects of Australian culture: parochialism, machismo, an unwillingness to face up to the past…Kneen also finds room for strength and kindness in this sleek and gripping novel.’
‘A dream-like and challenging book…beautiful poetic writing [that] takes on the weighty themes of grief and domestic violence.’
‘Rich and beautiful prose…Wintering is a story of survival and strength, and that’s what makes it so easy to read and to recommend.’
‘A triumph…One of Kneen’s greatest strengths is her ability to write with humour, pathos, sadness, joyousness and candour in equal measure…Wintering is a fine addition to an already impressive body of work.’
‘Unsettling and gripping.’