Quick Book Review: From the Wreck

From the Wreck

By Jane Rawson

Publication date: 2017

Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing and Picador (Pan MacMillan)

From the Wreck tells the remarkable story of George Hills, who survived the sinking of the steamship Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859. Haunted by his memories and the disappearance of a fellow survivor, George’s fractured life is intertwined with that of a woman from another dimension, seeking refuge on Earth. (Transit Lounge Publishing)


From the Wreck, Transit Lounge edition

I read this early in 2019 and it deserves a quick review. I highly recommend this novel and below are the quick notes I made after reading it:

A cleverly constructed novel where the experience of an alien life form is interwoven with the story of George Hills, survivor of the Admella, who in Rawson’s fictional account has come across the alien while on the wreck. The alien sections are so beautifully written that I didn’t want them to end, while the human story provides both a framework and a relief from what could be quite unrelenting weirdness. These human sections give voice to every question a human might have about the appearance of something so strange in our world. The alien sections play counterpoint, responding to every question with a simple, insistent, first-person experience. It’s a weird novel but also an accessible novel, a very Australian blend of science fiction with a magic realist feel to it. The term speculative fiction fits perfectly, much better than the old divisions of science fiction and fantasy.


Picador new hardcover edition.

From the Wreck won the Aurealis award for best science fiction novel of 2017 which is a huge achievement, but I suggest all mainstream, historical and literary readers should give it a go. I’m so glad I did.

I’m not sure of the details but it looks like Picador has brought out a new edition with a visually stunning hardcover and likely wider distribution, in April 2019, no doubt good news for the author.