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Ironbark
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Shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award.

About the Author

Jay Carmichael is a writer and editor. His first novel, Ironbark, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2016. His writing has been published by beyondblue and appeared widely in print and online, including in Overland, The Guardian, SBS, and The Telling Tree project. Jay lives and works in Melbourne.

Reviews

`Jay Carmichael's Ironbark does the extraordinary. It achieves what we readers want from the best of fiction: to tell a story anew, and to capture a world in all its wonder, ugliness, tenderness, and cruelty. This is a novel of coming of age and of grief that astonishes us by its wisdom and by its compassion. It's a work of great and simple beauty, so good it made me jealous. And grateful.' -Christos Tsiolkas `Jay Carmichael approaches the world as a poet, from an angle that is all his own. He reveals a hidden, pulsing reality beneath the surface of the everyday.' -Miles Allinson, author of Fever of Animals `In sparse and quiet prose, Jay Carmichael's debut is an enveloping novel about grief, survival, and the futility of finding peace in a place you don't belong.' -Shaun Prescott, author of The Town `[An] accomplished debut ... Carmichael has a poetic turn of phrase, and he plays with time, moving the story back and forth ... keeping readers on their toes.' -Books+Publishing `What Ironbark captures beautifully is the yearning one might feel while growing up unable to understand or express love and attraction freely; a yearning to kiss your best friend, a longing for an end to a loneliness, like cracked land waiting for rain. Ironbark is a still, quiet, compelling novel that reaches an ending both sad and peaceful.' -Good Reading `It is convincing as the voice of a young man full of longing, awkwardness and a passion for things he will no doubt soon grow out of ... Ironbark is a book about being stuck: the story does not develop so much as deepen.' -Weekend Australian `The novel draws deeply on the love of nature that once inspired Carmichael to pursue botanical science ... It is almost poetic in its descriptions of a slightly surreal landscape overcome by an oncoming storm that seems to mirror Markus' silent struggles.' -SBS `[A] subtle, impressionistic novel about adolescent alienation and masculinity in rural Australia ... As the narrative progresses, Carmichael adjusts the focus, bringing his story, characters and imagery into sharper, though never completely clear, view ... Carmichael paints an exquisitely tender portrait of doomed adolescent longing and love.' -Sophie Quick, The Monthly `Ironbark is an elegant novel, one that reveals itself slowly. It is both a wonderful evocation of the listlessness of grief and a disturbing portrait of shame and self-doubt. In many ways the story is as familiar as the town, hot and dusty with drought, but it is also fresh and new, as it questions with an unexpected urgency what it means to be a man.' -Adelaide Advertiser `While it feels like a cliche to call a novel - especially one by a first-time author - `assured', it is the phrase I kept returning to while reading this debut offering from young Victorian writer Jay Carmichael. His clean and polished prose possesses the kind of confidence that puts readers at ease ... Ironbark is a poised and atmospheric work that reveals Carmichael as an author to watch.' -Chris Somerville, Readings

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