The Australian

Emma Smith-Stevens. Dzanc (PGW, dist.), $26.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-941088-74-6
In her mesmerizing debut, Smith-Stevens reveals the inner life of a man who describes himself as “the patron saint of trying.” The first view of the titular character (who is never given a proper name) is in his Australian homeland, where he’s a young adult parading around as Superman—living in the skin of a superhero, lapping up tourist attention. After college graduation, he’s off to America, landing in Wall Street. The trajectory of his life bounces from one happenstance to the next—venture capitalism, dabbling with cocaine, meeting his future wife in a bar, making and losing a fortune, becoming obsessed with parkour, fathering a child, and becoming a reality TV star. Ever the seeker, he is shaped by a past with no father and a smothering mother. The author imbues the Australian’s constant search for himself with humor and depth while she delves into relationships of all stripes—between parents and children, between spouses, even among polyamorous partners—as well as the vagaries of fame, balancing the main character’s self-indulgence with his genuine need to connect with the people in his life. As the Australian returns to his homeland seeking hope, redemption, and happiness, readers are treated to a captivating and memorable journey. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2017
Release date: 05/01/2017
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