Devastatingly Talented New Author: Start reading The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier

Devastatingly Talented New Author:  Start reading The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier

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One of the best books I’ve read this year. I absolutely loved it.’ Melissa Ashley, author of The Birdman’s Wife. 

The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge is a heartbreakingly beautiful exploration of a family’s search for belonging, and the trials and tribulations that threaten to break them apart. Fans of The Light Between Oceans and The Woolgrower’s Companion will find themselves gripped by Kali Napier’s brilliant debut novel that some have tipped to become an Australian classic.

Set on the coast of Western Australia in 1932, The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge has echoes of the bestselling A Fortunate Life, opening as it does with a family facing tough times. Ernie and Lily Hass have lost nearly everything to the hardships of the Great Depression. Along with their daughter, Girlie, they’ve had to abandon their failing wheat farm and small-town life to move to the coast. Attempting to start a new life and business, they begin to build a summer guesthouse at the ocean’s edge.

But the arrival of Lily’s shell-shocked brother, Tommy, threatens to expose secrets the family have done everything to hide. After three years of incarceration, Tommy is looking for answers and his determined search threatens to destroy the very foundation of the new life they have begun to build.

Inspired by her own family history, Napier has blended fact and fiction to great effect, writing with a raw emotional power that at times, is devastating. The intricacies of life in the tiny coastal town of Dongarra, WA where her great-grandfather lived briefly during the Great Depression are there in fascinating detail. And Napier doesn’t only tackle family secrets, but touches eloquently upon PTSD, homelessness, poverty, and other forces that shape lives.

One of the standout qualities of the wonderful Secrets at Ocean’s Edge is its unforgiving and brutal examination of racial intolerance and prejudice and the deep pain they cause. Napier’s  sensitive dealings with the plight faced by Indigenous Australians during the period add to the novel’s empathetic and intelligent voice.

Written from multiple points of view, Napier blurs the lines of what we might think is right and wrong. From secrets to resolutions, each character has their own struggles and decisions to make – like real life, nothing is black and white. Tommy is especially well drawn, his concerns highlighting the struggles of returning veterans and their attempt to reintegrate back into civilian life. Lily and Girlie are other standouts, both strong women who navigate a world in which they are not equals.

kalie_napierKali Napier…remember that name. You’ll be hearing it a lot.

About the Author

Kali Napier worked in Bangladesh as an anthropologist on gender programs before working as an Aboriginal family history researcher for the Queensland government and as a Native Title anthropologist in the mid-west of Western Australia, the setting for The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge. The novel was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award as was her first manuscript. Napier was also a finalist in the Hachette Australia Manuscript Development Program and is currently a Master of Philosophy candidate in creative writing at the University of Queensland. The character of Ernie in The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge is based on her great-grandfather, who settled briefly in Dongara during the Depression. Napier’s parents were married in Delhi, hence her name, Kali. She led a peripatetic childhood, growing up in rural England, Abu Dhabi, Algeria and Indonesia. Kali now lives in Queensland with her two ‘beautiful and utterly ratbag’ children.

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    Publisher details

    The Secrets at Ocean's Edge
    Author
    Kali Napier
    Publisher
    Hachette
    Genre
    Australian Fiction
    Released
    30 January, 2018

    Synopsis

    1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression; all they have keeping their small family together are their secrets. Abandoning their failing wheat farm and small-town gossip, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances with the locals isn't easy.Into the Hasses' new life wanders Lily's shell-shocked brother, Tommy, after three harrowing years on the road following his incarceration. Tommy is seeking answers that will cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily and Girlie really are.Inspired by the author's own family history, The Secrets at Ocean's Edge is a haunting, memorable and moving tale of one family's search for belonging. Kali Napier breathes a fever-pitch intensity into the story of these emotionally fragile characters as their secrets are revealed with tragic consequences. If you loved The Light Between Oceans and The Woolgrower's Companion you will love this story.
    Kali Napier
    About the author

    Kali Napier

    Kali Napier worked in Bangladesh as an anthropologist on gender programs before working as an Aboriginal family history researcher for the Queensland government and as a Native Title anthropologist in the mid-west of Western Australia, the setting for The Secrets at Ocean's Edge. The novel was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award as was her first manuscript. Napier was also a finalist in the Hachette Australia Manuscript Development Program and is currently a Master of Philosophy candidate in creative writing at the University of Queensland. The character of Ernie in The Secrets at Ocean's Edge is based on her great-grandfather, who settled briefly in Dongara during the Depression. Napier’s parents were married in Delhi, hence her name, Kali. She led a peripatetic childhood, growing up in rural England, Abu Dhabi, Algeria and Indonesia. Kali now lives in Queensland with her two ‘beautiful and utterly ratbag’ children.

    Books by Kali Napier

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