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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

David Brooks is the author of four previous collections of poetry, three of short fiction, four highly acclaimed novels, and a major work of Australian literary history, The Sons of Clovis (UQP 2011). His The Book of Sei (1985) was heralded as the most impressive debut in Australian short fiction since Peter Carey’s, and his second novel, The Fern Tattoo (UQP 2007), was short-listed for the Miles Franklin award. The Sydney Morning Herald called his previous collection of poetry, The Balcony (UQP 2008), ‘an electric performance’. Until 2013 he taught Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, where he was also the foundation director of the graduate writing program and for many years was co-editor of literary journal Southerly. He lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and spends several months each year in a village on the coast of Slovenia.