Australia has long been a country with a stellar literary output. From the modern city drama to the great outback adventure; from romance to war and everything in between, Aussie writers are famed for taking this magnificent land and its people and dropping them into unforgettable pageturners.
Our passion for storytelling only seems to be growing by the year, with countless Aussie yarns making it big on the international readers scene for their fascinating plots set amongst well-written settings.
With this in mind, here are three of the best modern literary fiction novels Australia has put out in the past few years:
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Before it was an HBO smash hit starring huge names like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies had easily earned its place as one of Australia’s most successful works ever, having made it to the New York Times’ bestseller list in its very first week of publication.
In fact, Liane Moriarty is the first Aussie author to have two books reach the number one spot in their first week out, having also attained this feat with her other stellar work, Truly Madly Guilty.
The novel’s illustrious history alone should be a key indicator of its quality, but when you consider it’s a rich and devilishly fun whodunnit set on Sydney’s northern beaches, one can’t help but want to pick up this worldwide hit.
Moriarty plays into the drama of life amongst kindergarten parents by taking it to the extreme, with a death at the annual trivia night. This takes the story down a rabbithole of intrigue, coming across some truly fascinating characters along the way…
The Dry by Jane Harper
There are plenty of films that play up the whole “Australia is a baron, scary place” thing, but not many books do it as well as Jane Harper’s The Dry.
Now a fantastic film starring Eric Bana, The Dry follows the stoic Federal Agent Aaron Faulk as he returns to his hometown to find out who – if anyone – murdered his childhood best mate.
But Faulk has some nasty regrets of his own, the likes of which threaten to derail his investigation. Dealing with small town gossip, some nasty locals and a past that won’t let him be, Faulk must weave his way through the dry heat to discover truths both new and old.
We totally recommend reading this book before seeing the film, as Harper is able to paint a picture of a hot and dusty town in the way that only a fine author can – it makes for scintillating reading.
Other Houses by Paddy O’Reilly
A stunningly heart wrenching story about love and hardship in “The Lucky Country”, Other Houses has rightfully earned its description as an important piece in contemporary Aussie literature despite having just been released in March 2022.
Other Houses is about a couple of work pay cheque to pay cheque, struggling away in dead-end jobs so that their daughter won’t suffer the same fate. However, a wrong turn will throw up hurdles in a way that threatens to derail their aspirations, with a gripping story about family and the decisions we make to follow in all its harrowing intensity.
Pick these up for great winter reads
Winter is just around the corner and you know what that means: putting away the party attire and settling in for some good reading (and telly) on the couch. The above three novels are a great place to start if you are looking to spend your winter getting into ripper Aussie books – you won’t regret picking these instant classics up!