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Scary Monsters

Scary Monsters

By Michelle de Kretserpaperback19 October 2021
$25.99RRP $32.99
or 4 payments of $6.50 with Learn more
Booklovers earn $1.25 in rewards
This item is part of the promotion: Great Reads, Great Prices
From the twice-winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Scary Monsters is an affecting, profound and darkly funny exploration into racism, misogyny, and ageism.

Narrated by two migrants, Scary Monsters is a political novel like no other, one that makes us laugh and despair in equal measure. Each side explores with great depth and empathy the migrant experience in the Western world and the narrowness of a society that fears the other, whether that be migrants themselves, or the scary monsters of racism, ageism and misogyny.

Scary Monsters warns of evils that inhabit and are perpetrated by individuals as well as the state. It does so in a format that is strange, running contrary to the usual way a book is presented.

Lili is a young woman teaching in a high school in the south of France in the early 1980s. She makes friends, dances to Blondie, tries to imagine what her future will hold and is disturbed by a creepy neighbour. Lyle is a middle-aged man working for the right-wing government in near-future Melbourne. He dresses in filing cabinet colours in order to avoid attracting attention, worries about his unruly children and wayward mother, and fears that a cover-up he's engineered at work will lead to repatriation. Is there a horrifying link between the two narratives?

Peopled by mesmerising characters, Scary Monsters is suspenseful, affecting, and witty by turn. It offers a profound meditation on racism, misogyny, and ageism: three monsters that plague the world.

PRODUCT DETAILS

  • Title: Scary Monsters
  • Author: Michelle de Kretser
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin
  • ISBN: 9781761065101
  • Length: 234.0 millimetre
  • Width: 153.0 millimetre
  • Languages: English
  • Format: PaperBack
  • Category: General Fiction
  • Publication Date: 19/10/2021
  • Pages: 320

RATINGS & REVIEW

2/11/2021 5:21:24 AM - Marianne
powerful and thought-provoking.
Scary Monsters is the sixth novel by award-winning Australian author, Michelle de Kretser. In the early nineteen-eighties, Lili is teaching in Montpellier, mixing with British and German ex-pats, occupying the attic of a cold eighteenth-century building, avoiding a creepy downstairs neighbour and watching North African men being harassed by gendarmes. Minna, an English artist, is her closest friend among the ex-pats, and devoted to her uglification of fashion project; together they travel to Sardinia to see John Berger’s mistress, a fruitless but still interesting excursion. Against a background of reports of the Yorkshire Ripper, Lili is determined to be Bold, Sexy, Modern and Intelligent, striding out alone, despite her fear, to return home from weekly cinema outings. Decades after immigrating to Melbourne from an unnamed Asian country, Lyle works for the Department, where he strives to be nondescript and indispensable, staying under the radar. In what many would call a police state, Australia tolerates no criticism of its climate no-policy and its solution to the grey tsunami and housing crisis, has banned Islam, and enforces a policy of repatriation of migrants who draw the wrong sort of attention to themselves. “Our prime minister is a strategic genius. Since seventy-five per cent of the population have a grandparent born overseas, his repatriation policy had an immediate effect on dissent.” Lyle and Chanel are consumed with appearing to be real Australians, rejecting any hint of their ethnicity and sparing no expense to achieve the right veneer. This is a costly exercise to finance and, to this end, Chanel’s pragmatism concerning her mother-in-law’s fate is chilling; Lyle’s tacit acquiescence to it, unnerving. The reversible presentation, two novellas each with their own cover, allows the reader to choose which to read first, past or future. The scary monsters of racism, misogyny and ageism are deftly portrayed. De Kretser easily evokes her era and setting for Lili’s story, while her depiction of the near future Australia Lyle inhabits is disturbingly believable. When Lyle says that “The whole point of Australia is a bet on the future” many will hear the echo of a certain present-day politician. Never one to write a comfortable read, De Kretser’s latest offering is powerful and thought-provoking. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.
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