A young lawyer in Los Angeles is called back to his family’s farm in rural Australia and plunged into a complex struggle between past and present, town and country, and the secrets that haunt them all.When he learns of his mother’s ailing health, Daniel Rawson must leave Los Angeles and travel half a world away to the family’s horse farm on Wedding Bush Road, one hundred miles outside of Melbourne. Estranged from his parents, Daniel is hesitant to revisit their history: long divorced, his mother still maintains the farm having put out her cheating, rakish husband, and even in these later years her anger burns brightly. Daniel arrives at the farm in the heat of his parents’ conflict with Sharen, an alluring tenant and ex-lover of his father now perched on family land. Sharen and her unstable son Reggie complicate an already difficult family dynamic while Daniel has to tend to his mother’s condition, his father’s contentious behavior, and the swell of memory that strikes whenever he visits the farm. As Daniel is increasingly drawn to Sharen, the various tensions across the farm will spark events that cannot help but change them all.
Wedding Bush Road
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DAVID FRANCIS, based in Los Angeles where he works for the Norton Rose Fulbright law firm, spends part of each year back on his family's farm in Australia. He is the author of The Great Inland Sea, published to acclaim in seven countries, and Stray Dog Winter, Book of the Year in The Advocate, winner of the American Library Association Barbara Gittings Prize for Literature, and a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist. He has taught creative writing at UCLA, Occidental College, and in the Masters of Professional Writing program at USC. His short fiction and articles have appeared in publications including Harvard Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Southern California Review, Best Australian Stories, Australian Love Stories, and The Rattling Wall. He is Vice President of PEN Center USA.
Winner Audiophile Award 2008
Best Australian novel of the year (Australian Literary Review)
LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist "Francis's prose has the sparse elegance of a Xeriscape. Every detail holds water." - Los Angeles Magazine "Truly extraordinary....the tension builds unrelentingly....sensuous, musical, a joy to read." --LAMBDA Literary Journal "unstoppable inevitable momentum...a haunting KGB tale" --Time Out Chicago "A stylish new literary thriller...Francis does a brilliant job of building and sustaining tension." --The Advocate "A stylish thriller." --WBUR Boston, Best Reads of 2008 "Filled with suspense, intrigue, and a good deal of sexiness, Stray Dog Winter is a novel of breathless moments, passion, politics, and atmosphere so thick you can feel it." --IndieBound: Indie Favorites "Vibrant with the discordant images of political repression and smoldering sexuality, Francis ethereally transports readers to a preternatural time where nothing and no one are what they seem." - Booklist "An impressive political thriller, beautifully crafted with a spectacular climax." - Australian Book Review "[An] excellent thriller....original and unconventional....Francis is masterly at building suspense and a palpable sense of intrigue." - Sydney Morning Herald "Evocative and mysterious...full of a menacing beauty." - Curledup.com "A dark, chilly thriller...Francis makes you feel every dropping degree...Don't ask how it ends..." - Lavender Magazine "Taut, suspenseful....elegantly written and perfectly executed...original, gripping and chilling, by one of Australia's most promising young writers" - Tucson Citizen "Stray Dog Winter is a remarkable achievement on many levels, from the poetic elegance of the prose to the atmospheric setting of the Russian capital in winter...David Francis is a writer of considerable skill...he combines a literary style with a compelling narrative about love passion and betrayal." --The Canberra Times "Stray Dog Winter is a disquietingly well-crafted thriller....indicative of the author's range and authority." --The Melbourne Age "astute, beautiful prose...poetic." --Sarah Weinman, author of Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind "Elegantly written and grippingly suspenseful, David Francis's Stray Dog Winter takes readers right into the heart of Graham Greene country."- Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black "David Francis has pulled off that most difficult of feats--the elegantly-written, lyrical thriller. This is a novel with intensity, a formidable landscape, and a plot that kept me reading all night. Impressive and compulsively readable." - Susan Straight, author of A Million Nightingales and Highwire Moon, finalist for the National Book Award "If Alan Furst and Edmund White were ever to collaborate, the result would be something as wonderful as Stray Dog Winter. Written with beautiful style and frightening intrigue, David Francis's new novel is a genuine cold war thriller, and a work of art." --David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl "Mysterious, intense and passionate, Stray Dog Winter is a chilling snapshot of a lost era, a political thriller, and a book of rare beauty. Like Out Stealing Horses, this story is as stunning word by word as it is in its rich entirety. Not to be missed." --Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli "This is a wonderful book, the work of a full-fledged talent who deserves to be read widely and well." --Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You and Chang & Eng "A literary thriller that melds cold war suspense with startling sexual intrigue, Stray Dog Winter is a fascinating, genre-bending mélange of dark state conspiracies and darker family secrets. Superbly written and profoundly original, Stray Dog Winter is a smart, provocative page-turner." --Darren Star, writer/producer, creator of Sex and the City
"This haunting literary thriller moves through a KGB winter dreamscape with elegance and charged sexuality. Francis is a master at evoking paranoia, dislocation, sexual longing, a past that haunts us, and ties that connect and blind us. Shades of Robert Stone and Graham Greene yet Francis's spare lyric voice is uniquely his own." - Denise Hamilton, author of The Last Embrace and the Eve Diamond crime novels "Stray Dog Winter is the season in which bad things happen to innocent Australians abroad. This thriller, resonating with deep emotion, is one of the great finds in Australian literature. David Francis is a wonderful writer and one to watch closely. His careful attention to language marks him out as a superb prose stylist and lyrical storyteller." - Brian Castro, award-winning author of Birds of Passage and Shanghai Dancing "In beautiful, exacting strokes, David Francis restores to life a lost landscape from our recent past, luminously and terrifyingly evoking a time and place of mistrust, deception and fear. A novel that combines high literary art with a riveting narrative, Stray Dog Winter reminds us that there is no more dangerous game than the search for love."- Mark Sarvas, author of Harry, Revised, host and editor of The Elegant Variation "David Francis has a surgeon's cold eye and a poet's heart; his prose is powerful, masterful."- Samantha Dunn, author of Not by Accident "Francis' gorgeous prose is passionate and pressure filled. His masterful writing delivers a rare kind of delicious suspense, the kind that's only found in the most riveting of novels."- Yannick Murphy, author of Signed, Matahari and Here They Come "Moscow, with its icy splendor and bald brutality, is seductively evoked in the pages of Stray Dog Winter. David Francis has created a credible, parallel universe in which nobody, particularly those with whom his protagonist is the most intimate, is what he or she seems. His hero, Darcy, is vulnerable and unfailingly sympathetic; an antipodean answer to Arkady Renko." - Gaby Naher, author of The Truth About My Fathers "Permeated with a brooding unease, powerfully matched by the palpable cold of winter in Moscow...sinister, suspenseful and beautifully written."- Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying "A story that creeps up around you and won't let you go. Hauntingly original and totally compelling. I couldn't put it down." - Jane Turner, writer and actor