In the early 19th century, British explorer John Oxley traversed the then-unknown wilderness of central Australia in search of water. Oxley never found it, but he never ceased to believe it was out there. The myth of the inland sea was taken up by other men, and over the years search parties walked out into the desert, dying as they tried to find it.

 

Two centuries later, his great-great-great-great granddaughter (and our narrator) spends a final year in Sydney reeling from her own self-destructive obsessions. She's working part-time as an emergency dispatch operator, drinking heavily, sleeping with strangers, wandering Sydney's streets late at night, and navigating an affair with an ex-lover. Reckless and adrift, she prepares to leave.

 

Written with down-to-earth lucidity and ethereal breeziness, this is an unforgettable debut about coming of age in a world that seems increasingly hostile. Watts explores feminine fear, apathy and danger, building to a tightly controlled bushfire of ecological and personal crisis.

 

'Both meticulous in detail and vast in ambition, Watts constructs a claustrophobic, sweltering dome over her protagonist, one that captures contemporary anxieties around ideas of identity, femininity and the environment... both a warning and atonement for our future and our past' - The Skinny

'Searing, insightful... captivating... at heart an inquiry into hostile climate and our slim chances of survival' -Irish Times

 

Publisher: Pushkin Press 
ISBN: 9781911590231 

The Inland Sea

£14.99Price

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