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Staying: A Memoir


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A searing memoir by acclaimed novelist Jessie Cole, about surviving the suicide of loved ones, and finding a place to heal.

About the Author

Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in northern New South Wales and lived a bush childhood of creek swimming and barefoot free-range adventuring. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim.


`A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.' -- Tim Winton
`A work of shining brilliance.' -- Romy Ash
`Staying aches and pulses with life...Cole is a writer of immense talent.' -- Anna Krien
`Staying is a well-written, extremely moving memoir that steers resolutely clear of stereotypes and self-pity...For all the darkness, there is light too. Cole is a gifted writer with a sensual turn of phrase, and her exploration of the reverberating effects of suicide is both illuminating and absorbing. It will appeal to readers who loved her previous novels.' * Books+Publishing *
`This touching memoir from Australian author Jessie Cole, whose childhood was irrevocably changed when her sister committed suicide, offers a rare personal take on unthinkable tragedy.' * Elle *
`Graceful, revealing, pitch perfect. Cole is an author who pays sharp attention to the world around her.' * Australian on 'Deeper Water' *
`[Cole] writes beautifully about the unravelling of this existence...This is a tender book about family, loss and trauma, and it deserves a wide readership despite its heavy themes.' * Readings *
`This memoir absolutely sparkles, and reminded me how powerful and moving books can be.' -- Mark Rubbo * Readings *
'When Australia's cultural narratives insist an artist must leave home to succeed, Cole shows one forged by staying put...It's surprising that, in the midst of such sorrow, what resounds is a sensation of fecundity. But perhaps it's not, from a writer of such talent and grace.' * Saturday Paper *
`Staying is a heartbreaking testament to the despair, helplessness and guilt of those left behind.' * Australian Financial Review *
`Staying is rich and complex - and often surprisingly funny given its dark subject matter. Above all, this memoir is a meditation on what it means to be traumatised by loss, and ultimately to be healed by life.' * Sydney Morning Herald *
`This is a book buoyant with a love for family and the natural world. Its pages are filled with light: the vividness of the living being who wants to live. What cannot be separated from these transports of contentment, though, is an irrefutable darkness...It is a -literary achievement, but always a human story. Its message is that life has a tenacious power to draw us out of states of bereavement that, if surrendered to, have the capacity to destroy us -entirely.' * Australian *
`Staying isn't just a tale of paradise lost - it's about the birth of an artist in the midst of trauma, crafted with the eye and prose of a novelist. It's also a hymn to a landscape, and to the immense difficulty in deciding simply to stay.' * Adelaide Advertiser *
`A stunningly written piece of work...Honest, open and raw.' * 1 Girl 2 Many Books *
`Heartbreaking...a truly beautiful book.' * New Zealand Women's Weekly *
`A delicate, difficult portrait of a family suffering delicate, difficult circumstances.' * Adelaide Review *
`I have read many memoirs this year, but none as scrupulously honest as this one...The sensitivity and brilliance of Cole's writing meant I was drawn into her world and was able to share her anguish...I am pleased Cole was talented enough, and brave enough, to share her words, providing insight into a subject that will doubtless touch many readers.' * Otago Daily Times *
`Cole paints such an authentic picture of her grieving family I wanted to read more about the years that followed, which shows her great achievement in Staying.' * Good Reading *
`An honest, raw and well-crafted memoir about a family torn apart.' * AU Review *
`[A] quiet, luminous memoir...Brave and radical.' -- Tim Winton * Best Books of 2018, Sydney Morning Herald *
`Jessie Cole's Staying (Text), a memoir about surviving the suicide of loved ones, made a great impact.' -- Robert Drewe * Best Books of 2018, Sydney Morning Herald *
`I loved Jessie Cole's excruciating, immaculately crafted memoir.' -- Jane Rawson * Best Books of 2018, Sydney Morning Herald *

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