From The Wreck

Jane Rawson

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18 April 2019
480 minutes

When George Hills was pulled from the wreck of the steamship Admella, he carried with him memories of a disaster that claimed the lives of almost every other soul on board. Almost every other soul.

Because as he clung onto the wreck, George wasn’t alone: someone else – or something else – kept George warm and bound him to life. Why didn’t he die, as so many others did, half-submerged in the freezing Southern Ocean? And what happened to his fellow survivor, the woman who seemed to vanish into thin air?

George will live out the rest of his life obsessed with finding the answers to these questions. He will marry, father children, but never quite let go of the feeling that something else came out of the ocean that day, something that has been watching him ever since. The question of what this creature might want from him – his life? His first-born? To simply return home? – will pursue him, and call him back to the ocean again.

Blending genres, perspectives and worlds, Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck - winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel- is a chilling and tender story about how fiercely we cling to life, and how no-one can survive on their own.

It’s hard to find the right words to praise this novel. I think we need a whole new critical vocabulary to be invented. Rawson recreates a vanished historical world with utterly convincing characters as well as inhabits the mind of a cephalopod alien and make us feel, in both cases, yes, that’s exactly how it is. Jane Rawson's writing is mysterious, chilling and tender. The book is a sort of miracle.

Lian Hearn

Something approaching an old-fashioned historical yarn spliced with Cronenbergian body horror . . . The commonplace rubbing shoulders with the supernatural adds to the book’s considerations of mourning and absence a vivid hue . . . a genuine tension and sense of dread.

Sydney Morning Herald

Rawson . . . has the rare talent of stretching our capacity to believe, while at the same time making us feel genuinely for the characters. There’s a beautiful quality of empathy here, light and aching . . . I was reminded of the gentle quality of Steven Spielberg’s ET . . . An intriguing tale whose humanity lingers warm long after the reading.

The Australian