A Searing Page-Turner: Try a Sample Chapter of Burnt Out by Victoria Brookman

A Searing Page-Turner: Try a Sample Chapter of Burnt Out by Victoria Brookman

The books could burn. So could the curtains. The fridge. The TV. The antique writing desk.

Cali took a long look around her house, wondering what she’d forgotten to pack. It was barely nine and already the hot westerly wind was powering across the tinderbox gully, across the long-parched riverbed, across the oil-laden leaves of the eucalypts that were waiting, a feast for the flames dancing up escarpments not ten kilometres away.

Smoke burned at the back of her throat. The heat pushed through the air like an oven door had been opened, shaking the summer-singed leaves and desiccated berries of her lilly pillies as she heaved a heavy-duty black box towards the open boot of her SUV.

The box’s base gave an ominous crack as she put it down. It slid in next to the small suitcase, as per usual. Years of notebooks, hard drives, and filing boxes containing a plantation’s worth of failed drafts, all red lines and scrawled notes – combustible, in more ways than one. A gust roared up and blew open the cover of a white wedding album that sat on top of the pile. Her heart quickening, Cali slammed it shut. If she’d ever actually been that strange, preened, forced-smile, got-life-figured-out kind of person, she certainly wasn’t anymore.

Over the top of the car, she stole a quick look at the bush behind her house, thriving with lyrebirds and wattlebirds, black cockatoos that had taken refuge in the canopies, rosellas pruning new growth in the gums, and sleeping bush rats, bandicoots and possums. For a moment the bush held her gaze; birdsong, and leaves dashing on leaves, all of it waiting on an answer to a question she couldn’t quite make out…

Continue reading the extract here…

Buy a copy of Burnt Out here.


Here’s to Rising from the Ashes: Read Our Review of Burnt Out by Victoria Brookman

Review | Our Review

17 January 2022

Here’s to Rising from the Ashes: Read Our Review of Burnt Out by Victoria Brookman

    Publisher details

    Burnt Out
    Victoria Brookman
    05 January, 2022


    Calida Lyons is having a very bad week. She's long past deadline for her still unwritten second novel; her husband has just left her; and her Blue Mountains community is being threatened by bushfires. Just as she hits rock bottom, she's forced to shelter with neighbours while a fire incinerates everything she owns.

    Devastated and emotional in front of news cameras, Cali delivers a blistering, unfiltered rebuke to the nation's rich to do something.

    Her rant goes viral, and she quickly becomes the latest celebrity face of the climate movement. Soon she's offered a harbourside refuge by handsome tech billionaire Arlo Richard, her publisher is delighted with the new novel she's writing, and she's the darling of high society.

    But things aren't as they seem. It's all built on lies, and Cali's pretty sure that the precarious house of cards she's built is about to come tumbling down.

    Victoria Brookman
    About the author

    Victoria Brookman

    Victoria Brookman is an author, activist and academic. She lives with her family in the Blue Mountains, on Darug and Gundungurra country. Victoria worked for a number of years as a political staffer and was the Labor candidate for the seat of Bradfield in the Kevin 07 Federal Election. Victoria was one of the early founding members of Destroy the Joint, the founder and spokesperson of Lactivists Australia, and from 2012-15 she organised and emceed the Sydney International Women's Day March. She studied English and creative writing at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Western Sydney University. She enjoys writing, bushwalking, and watching the footy. 

    Books by Victoria Brookman


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