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Things Could Be Worse

Rediscover the lovable character Lola Bensky with this stylish reissue of Lily Brett’s first work of fiction.


After surviving the Holocaust, Josl and Renia move to Melbourne with their daughter Lola Bensky to start a new life. This poignant yet bitingly funny collection of short stories follows Lola’s struggles to come to terms with herself, her place in the local Jewish community and the horrific family history whose legacy is still felt by them all.

Things Could Be Worse, Brett’s debut work of fiction, was first published in 1990 to universal acclaim. It was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the 3M Talking Book of the Year Award. With haunting illustrations by the renowned painter David Rankin, it introduced the world to Lola Bensky, the eponymous heroine of Lily Brett’s 2012 award-winning international bestseller.

Lily Brett, author of Things Could Be Worse

Lily Brett

Lily Brett is the internationally acclaimed author of six novels, four collections of essays, and nine volumes of poetry. She has been the recipient of many literary awards, including France’s Prix Médicis Étranger in 2014 for her novel Lola Bensky.

Brett was born in Germany in 1946 to two Auschwitz survivors. When Lily was a small child, she and her parents migrated to Australia as refugees. She started her writing career in the 1960s as a journalist for an Australian rock music newspaper. She interviewed scores of musicians, some of whom became legends, such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger.

Today Lily Brett lives in New York City with her husband, the painter David Rankin, who created the illustrations for Things Could Be Worse. Brett’s work frequently explores the lives of Holocaust survivors and their children, the experiences of modern women, and life in New York City.