2020 ABIA Book of the Year shortlists

Some great reads here!

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

The 2020 ABIA Book of the Year shortlists have just been announced.
Congratulations to the winners of the two Hall of Fame Awards, Helen Garner as the recipient of the Lloyd O’Neil Award for outstanding contribution to the industry and Erica Wagner as the recipient of the Pixie O’Harris Award for exceptional contribution to Children’s Literature. Congratulations also to Hazel Lam from Harper Collins as the recipient of the 2020 Rising Star Award – an award that recognises emerging talent in the industry.

Literary Fiction Book of the Year
Damascus, Christos Tsiolkas (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)
The Weekend, Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin), see my review
The Yield, Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton), see my review
There Was Still Love, Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia), see my review
Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar (Pan Macmillan Australia, Picador Australia), see my review

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The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson

‘Helen is dead.’

The death of their grandmother, Helen Auerbach, forces a fractured family to reunite, at least temporarily.  Siblings Beck, Ashley and Jake Miller and their mother Deborah carry the baggage of decades of betrayal, misunderstanding and resentment when they get together in their grandmother’s house after her death.  Her will is clear: Helen left her house to Deborah, the balance of her estate to Beck, Ashley and Jake, with one exception: ‘My yellow diamond brooch goes to Becca’.    Beck thinks that the brooch is costume jewellery and of little value.

But the brooch is far from costume jewellery: it contains a 137-carat yellow diamond that went missing as the Hapsburg Empire collapsed in 1918.

Ms Meyerson weaves an enthralling story, with elements of mystery (about both the diamond and Helen) as well as the lives of each of the members of the Miller family.  And, while each member of the family dreams about the changes the sale of the diamond might bring to their lives, others are seeking to stake their claims.

‘It’s funny how similar they seem, betrayal and protection.’

The characters in this novel are very human: fallible and not always likeable. The history of the diamond is important: how did Helen end up with it?  Was it stolen?  Finding out the truth about the diamond leads Beck and her mother into the future, while Jake and Ashley are more focussed on problems they have currently.

And the ending?  Perhaps not what some readers are expecting, but somehow entirely appropriate.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin HQ Fiction for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith