THE RE­STORER by Michael Sala, Penguin.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - LM

It’s the late 1980s. Protests are erupt­ing in Tianan­men Square, the Ber­lin Wall is com­ing down, and in New­cas­tle, an earth­quake is about to hit. Michael Sala taps into the ten­sion and fear of the times to help build the mood in­side the run­down beach house Roy has bought on the New­cas­tle coast. His plan is to re­store it, and his mar­riage, and af­ter a year’s sep­a­ra­tion it looks like he’ll get his sec­ond chance when Maryanne agrees to re­turn with their two chil­dren. But Roy lives on a hair-trig­ger; as his teenage daugh­ter Freya puts it, as if “some small fuse had been lit in­side… burn­ing through to his nerves”. She dis­dains her mother for go­ing back to him, while her lit­tle brother is scared; Roy has hurt him be­fore. The cracks are widen­ing long be­fore the earth moves in this novel of a fam­ily locked into pat­terns of vi­o­lence.

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