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Funny, poignant, and galvanizing by turns, Josephine Wilson’s award-winning novel explores many kinds of extinction—natural, racial, national, and personal—and what we might do to prevent them.
Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, has quarantined himself in a place he hates: a retirement village. His headstrong wife Martha, adored by all, is dead. His adopted daughter Caroline has cut ties, and his son Callum is lost to him in his own way. And though Frederick knows, logically, that a structural engineer can devise a bridge for any situation, somehow his own troubled family—fractured by years of secrets and lies—is always just out of his reach.
When a series of unfortunate incidents brings him and his spirited next-door neighbor Jan together, Frederick gets a chance to build something new in the life he has left. At the age of 69, he has to confront his most complex emotional relationships and the haunting questions he’s avoided all his life. Unbeknownst to him, Caroline—on her own journey of cultural reckoning—is doing the same. As father and daughter fight in their own ways to save what’s lost, they might finally find a way toward each other.
A masterful portrait of a man caught by history, and a sweeping meditation on the meaning of family, love, survival, and identity, Extinctions asks an urgent question: can we find the courage to change?
About the Author: Josephine Wilson is a Perth-based writer. Her writing career began in the area of performance. Her early works included The Geography of Haunted Places, with Erin Hefferon, and Customs. Her first novel was Cusp, (UWA Publishing, 2005). Josephine has lectured and taught in the tertiary sector. She is the busy parent of two children and works as a sessional staff member at Curtin University, where she teaches in the Humanities Honours Program, in Creative Writing and in Art and Design history. She completed her Masters of Philosophy at Queensland University and her PhD at UWA. Extinctions (UWA Publishing, 2016) was the winner of the inaugural Dorothy Hewett Prize and won the 2017 Miles Franklin Award.
A Note From the Publisher
LibraryReads nominations due by 9/20 and IndieNext nominations due by 9/5.
“[Extinctions] has already made a significant mark on the literary landscape.” - The Guardian
“Josephine Wilson’s novel, Extinctions, is whip-smart, full of unexpected moves and a wonderful cast of characters. From its first sentence, the prose exhibits an un-self-conscious beauty, while the voice remains both compassionate and uncompromising. A powerful, memorable read.” - Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES
“A novel as beautifully and intricately designed as the iconic structures retired Australian engineer, Fred Lothian, admires. An intellectual but deeply flawed man, he can't see he may be preserving the artifacts of his family's past while letting his family wither away. A masterful meditation on love, loss and the carelessness of extinction.” - Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND
“Compassionate and unapologetically intelligent . . . A meditation on survival: on what people carry, on how they cope, and on why they might, after so much putting their head in the sand, come to the decision to engage, and even change.” - Miles Franklin Award Committee