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The Fern Tattoo
by

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Overview

A century of family secrets starts to unravel when Benedict Waters is summoned to an audience with an old friend of his mother. He is seduced by her storytelling and it takes time and an astonishing revelation before he realises that it is his own family he has been hearing about, his own life that is being undone.

From the Blue Mountains to the Hawkesbury and from Sydney to the south coast of New South Wales, The Fern Tattoo takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey through several generations of three families. We meet a range of extraordinary characters including a bigamist bishop, a librarian tattooed from neck to knee, a young girl who kills her best friend in a tragic shooting accident and a pair of lovers who live each other’s lives for years after they have separated. As with all families, there are lost loves, tragic passions and unspoken - sometimes unspeakable - histories.

The Fern Tattoo is a beguiling novel about the certainty of fate and the randomness of love that announces David Brooks’ return as one of Australia’s most distinctive literary novelists.

Details
David Brooks

David Brooks

is the author of five previous collections of poetry and several novels and works of short fiction. His The Book of Sei (1985) was heralded as the most impressive debut in Australian short fiction since Peter Carey’s. His novel The Fern Tattoo (UQP, 2007) was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Sydney Morning Herald called his collection of poetry, The Balcony (UQP, 2008), ‘an electric performance’. Until 2013 he taught Australian Literature at The University of Sydney. In recent years he has devoted his writing increasingly to animal advocacy. He lives with rescued sheep in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. In 2014 he was awarded a 2015/16 Australia Council Fellowship for services to Australian and international literature.