The Honeyeater

by Jessie Tu
A wildly inventive follow up to the acclaimed bestseller A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, winner of the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year.

‘Tu is original, brilliant, funny, fierce–everything I want in a writer.’ Annabel Crabb

‘Daring and moving … a joy to read.’ Christos Tsiolkas

‘Startlingly beautiful and ultimately hopeful.’ Tiffany Tsao

‘What a book.’ Alice Pung

‘A sensitive meditation on what is and isn’t said between mother and daughter. In a family stratified by language, Tu beautifully captures the shifting dynamic of who is the parent and who is the child.’ S.L. Lim, author of Revenge

‘One of those books that haunts you long after it’s finished. Despite the narrator’s almost dreamy detachment, it is razor sharp and skewers exoticism.’ Sarah Dingle, author of Brave New Humans

‘Thrilling and playful … Jessie Tu is a compelling literary talent with deep emotional insight and narrative genius.’ Gok-Lim Finch, writer, artist and co-founder of dotdotdash

‘Everything I love in fiction.’ Madeleine Gray, author of Green Dot

‘The literary mystery for our times … a triumph.’ Neela Janakiramanan, author of The Registrar

‘Translation is longing. You never get it right.’

Young academic and emerging translator Fay takes her mother on a package tour holiday to France to celebrate her birthday. It’s a chance for the two of them to take a break from work and have a little fun, but they both find it hard to relax. Her mother seems reluctant to leave their room in the evening, and Fay is working on a difficult translation. On their last night in France, Fay receives the shattering news that her former lover has suddenly died.

Back in Sydney, Fay seeks solace from her mentor, Professor Samantha Egan-Smith, who offers her a spot at a prestigious translation conference in Taipei. But can she trust her? Does the Professor know more than she is admitting, or is Fay being paranoid? When a shocking allegation is made, Fay chooses to keep it secret. Is she protecting the Professor or exercising power over her?

Fay arrives at the conference in Taipei. Career opportunities abound, but it’s ghost month in Taiwan. Her mother had begged her not to go at that time, warning that she would be susceptible to dangers and threats. And there is almost nothing a mother won’t do to protect her child.

A wildly inventive, chilling and intoxicating story of betrayal, ambition and love, The Honeyeater confirms that Jessie Tu is one of our most original and exciting writers.

Praise for A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing:

‘With A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, Tu has made a remarkable and strong entry into the national literary scene.’ – Australian Book Review

‘An excellent debut … Tu eschews the idea of victimhood while staying aware of the persistence of patterns of structural social inequity.’ – The Weekend Australian

‘Fresh and energetic…this is a raw and illuminating glimpse into the world of a child prodigy.’ – Canberra Times

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing is fiercely observant and daring, shining a spotlight on an Australian experience that is vastly underrepresented.’ – Mamamia

‘A fascinating and intense debut that challenges systemic racism and misogyny in the progressive artistic world … confronting, brilliant and original, Jessie Tu is an incredible new voice in Australian literature.’ – Readings

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