A few days ago, what I thought would be a very simple request to fulfil – to list a few Australian novellas to help those of you keen to combine two reading events with the one book – turned out to be anything but!
I naively believed that all I had to do was google ‘Australian novellas’ and there would be a lovely definitive list compiled by some intrepid Aussie list-making novella aficionado.
That has not turned out to be case at all.
Wikipedia listed a mere handful of choices (included below) but I knew there had to be more.
Naturally, one of the first problems encountered was determining the exact nature of a novella.
A word count of 17,500 to 39,999 is considered to be the norm, but I’ve also sited a 10,000 to 50,000 word limit range. Whichever word count you finally settle on though, makes no difference to the average reader in the end, as most books do not come with that kind of detail included.
Cathy and Rebecca have hit upon the 150 page mark with an upper limit of 200 pages. But, of course, it then depends on which edition of the book you are reading. As you can see, it was very easy to become pedantic and get caught up in the details, at the expense of making a list, that might actually be useful.
I also discovered that a novella usually (but not always) contains one central conflict, often from one point of view. Backstory is brief or non-existant, and most will have one location within a continuous time frame. A novella can usually be read in one sitting.
So here it is, after a bit of scrounging – a list!
- Carly Cappielli – Listurbia
- Christy Collins – The End of Seeing
- Lauren Aimee Curtis – Dolores (review by NancyElin)
- Nick Earls – Wisdom Tree series (Noho, Juneau, Vancouver, Venice, Gotham)
- Delia Falconer – The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers
- Beverley Farmer – Alone
- The Seal Woman
- The House in the Light
- Nigel Featherstone – Fall On Me (review by NancyElin)
- Helen Garner – The Children’s Bach
- Lana Guineay – Dark Wave (review by Lisa @ANZ Lit Lover)
- Stephanie Gunn – Icefall (review by NancyElin)
- George Haddad – Populate and Perish
- Marion Halligan – Spidercup
- Elizabeth Jolley – Miss Peabody’s Inheritance
- Cate Kennedy – Love & Desire: Four Modern Australian Novellas
- Michelle de Kretser – Springtime: A Ghost Story
- Mary-Rose MacColl – The Water of Life
- Colleen McCullough – The Ladies of Missalonghi
- Wayne Macauley – Simpson Returns (review by NancyElin)
- David Malouf – An Imaginary Life
- Fly Away Peter (review by Marianne @Let’s Read)
- Drusilla Modjeska – Ripe To Tell
- Joseph Mostafa – Offshore
- Rose Mulready – The Bonobo’s Dream
- Hoa Pham – The Other Shore
- Doris Pilkington – Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
- Julie Proudfoot – The Neighbour
- Jane Rawson – Formaldehyde
- Jane Jervis Read – Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall
- Mirandi Riwoe – The Fish Girl (review by Sue @Whispering Gums)
- Tansy Roberts _ Girl Reporter (review by NancyElin)
- Stephen Scourfield – Unaccountable Hours: Three Novellas
- Nicole Smith – Sideshow
- Elizabeth von Armin – Elizabeth and Her German Garden
- Bryan Walpert – Late Sonata
- Marlee Jane Ward – Welcome to Orphancorp
- Patrick White – The Cockatoos (review by Bill @Australian Legend)
- Daniel Davis Wood – Blood and Bone
- Stephen Wright – A Second Life
The Griffith Review Novella Project is now up to its 7th edition. Some of the novellas can be read online through the links provided. You can only read a few for free per month, though, so click wisely.
If you know of any more Australian Novellas, please let me know.
27 thoughts on “Australian Novellas”
Looks like a great list. Which one would you recommend to start with?
This is brilliant Brona! What a great list.
I am rather partial to Colleen McCullough's Ladies of Missalonghi – a comforting romance set in the Blue Mountains early 1900's & also of interest because of it's strong resemblance to LM Montgomery's story The Blue Castle.I've just finished a novel by Riwandi Riwoe, so I'm keen to go back and try her novella now as well.
Thanks for the recommendation. In addition to Fly Away Peter I also read The Ladies of Missalonghi in the meantime and it was a nice read.
Thanks for finding me at my new home Marianne – The Ladies are a very nice, gentle read indeed!
You’re welcome. I hadn’t realized you had moved, I was still following your old blog but I rectified the situation instantly.
Always a pleasure to read your posts.
Thank you 😊
Thanks Cathy, I hope it helps both of us 🙂
I agree with Cathy…a great list!I have 3 contemporary AUSSIE novellas ready to read.As soon as the new President USA is official…hopefully today…then I can start reading my novellas.
Oh, thank you. I really liked The Thorn Birds. It's not available here anymore but I could order it as a used copy. Should arrive sometimes next week. Looking forward to that. Thanks again.Have a nice weekend.
Thanks for the awesome list. I have only read 3 authors among these, and no novella. Most Australian authors I have read had long books, including The Tree of Man, by White
Dammit, I've read the Ladies but seem to have passed them along!
I guess we have to wait for Pennsylvania to officially call their own state, but it seems like a done deal…so time to get reading !!
Done deal…finally. 16:34. CET….CNN calls Pennsylvania for Biden.Poured myself a glass of wine….then cooked a delicious dinner! Last night was my first good sleep in a week….tension was excruciating until Biden reached the necessary 270 electoral ballots. Today was detox from news….tomorrow start reading again!
You're one up on me Emma, I have still to read a White or any length!
I have read one of the books on your list, Fly Away Peter and really liked it. \”The Ladies of Missalonghi\” has arrived, as well, I'll read that soon.Thanks for this. It's a beautiful list.
Thank you Marianne. I hope to add to the list as time goes by 🙂
And I'm looking forward to any addition. Thanks.
How did I miss this? I have read and written quite a lot about novellas . In your list I’ve also reviewed NoHo, The children’s Bach, and The neighbour. But if you look at my Novellas tag you will see a list of which about two thirds are novellas, including two more by Featherstone, Kate Jennings (2: Moral Hazard and Snake), Hoa Pham, Lurie, Murnane and many more. However, in some cases I’ve pushed the definition. Pages are difficult as you know. Some define it by word count but how are we to know that?
Glad you found it now – I blame Blogger 🙂
As I have time, I will add your links to the post (that is now a page on the top menu as suggested by Lisa).
Haha, Brona. You can actually, because I do grit my teeth when I see Blogger posts come through!
That’s the tricky thing, the definition. I categorise mine between 100-200 pages—which catches Penguin paperbacks I would otherwise call novels by Thea Astley—so I’ve named my category novellas and short novels.
I work on more or less the same definition of what a novella comprises as Brona does in her last paragraph, except that, for me, novellas involve some kind of character development. IMO that is what distinguishes them from short stories. (Though I admit that character development might just be what makes them satisfying to me.)
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I spotted that extra bit on the tag for the short novels, & I made a couple of calls to leave a book off my list if I thought the page count was too long. I also chose not to include NZ authors (unless their novella was actually set in Australia).
I’m now using this rainy, miserable Sunday to go through my older posts for other possibilities for my new Australiana tab – look what you’ve started now!!
(Not really, *chuckle*)
No I think a bit of character development can distinguish novellas. But good short stories will nail character so well, and sometimes involve an epiphany which makes them special too!
I’m going to be cheeky here and suggest that you turn this list into a Page, that people can see in your menu at the top of the blog. That way, when we’re fossicking around for Novellas in November, we will find it:)
Others you can add are This Water: Five Tales, by Beverley Farmer; and Things We Didn’t See Coming, by Steven Amsterdam.
BTW I have also reviewed The End of Seeing; Dolores, Venice and Gotham (from the Nick Earls series), Miss Peabody’s Inheritance; Simpson Returns, Springtime, The Other Shore, Unaccountable Hours, Late Sonata, A Second Life and Welcome to Orphancorp.
You can find the links if you want to add them from my Novellas category, https://anzlitlovers.com/category/category/form/novellas-short-novels-100-200-pp/
Thanks Lisa for the links, which I will add as I have time. And thanks for the suggestion – you can now find this page on the Australiana menu tab 🙂
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