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The Danger Game

by Kalinda Ashton

  • Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist winner
  • IMPAC Dublin Literary Award longlist
  • Betty Trask award winner, 2012

“Sometimes the only way to manage the daily percolating drip of fear, the corrosive dread of debt and humiliation, is to embrace another sort of terror, to put oneself in danger.”

Alice and Louise are sisters united by a distrant tragedy – the house fire their brother burnt to death in fourteen years ago. Alice teaches dirt-poor students at a state high school that the government wants to close while she pursues a tumultuouse relationship with a married man. Louise, a habitual liar and recovering heroin addict, has been playing ‘the danger game’ since she was a child, and she can’t stop. But when Louise decides to unravel the truth about her twin brother’s death, and seeks out the mother that abandoned them, everything changes.

“Four-and-a-half stars. While big Australian publishers are busy fighting each other with vampires and gangsters, small presses are quietly putting out some of the most impressive literary fiction of recent years. Melbourne-based Sleepers Publishing have uncovered a writer of exceptional skill and poise, whose debut novel is as outstanding an example of a contemporary realist narrative as you’re likely to find. With echoes of Australian literary heavyweights such as Elliot Perlman or Anson Cameron, Ashton’s story deftly explores the psychological damage of unspoken family history… Ashton allows us to understand the extraordinary importance of ordinary lives.” – Bookseller and Publisher

“An unflinching examination of familial and communal bonds. It is masterful, poignant, powerful and true. Ashton’s is a remarkable voice and this is a wonderful novel.” – Christos Tsiolkas

“A wonderful debut novel.” Emily Maguire, The Canberra Times

The Danger Game is also available as an ebook (see left).