'Australian fiction in the past 12 months was apparently so good that a seven-book shortlist was not enough for the judges of the Prime Minister's Literary Award. So they created a new "highly commended" category. Peter Pierce, who chaired the fiction panel, tells Undercover: "We thought that the evenness of quality of a score of books meant that some outside the shortlist ought to be highly commended, literally commended to Australian readers." These books may benefit from the publicity even though they have no chance at the $100,000 prize: Turtle, by Gary Bryson; Texas, by Sarah Hay; Morris in Iceland, by Alex Jones; Disquiet, by Julia Leigh; and Ice, by Louis Nowra.'
Source: http://blogs.smh.com.au/entertainment/archives/2009/09/ Saturday, September 26, 2009 (Sighted 12/12/2013)
'An iceberg is towed through the Heads to the astonishment of colonial Sydney. As it melts, the iceberg is revealed as a tomb to the perfectly preserved body of a young sailor, who died forty years before.
'A man lost in grief for his wife is haunted by his memories of her. His life becomes a memorial to her, in the hope of defeating the oblivion of death.
'Ice tells the story of Malcolm McEacharn, the man who brings joy to early Sydney in the form of an iceberg and who later pioneers the first successful refrigerated voyage from Australia to London. He is a brilliant businessman who will later bring electricity to Melbourne, become its Lord Mayor and be one step away from becoming Prime Minister - but he is driven by an obsession that threatens to destroy him and his world.
'Ice also tells a parallel story, set in contemporary Sydney, of a young biographer who lies in a coma, and her bereft husband's desperate attempts to resurrect her by unearthing the truth about her subject McEacharn.' (Publisher's blurb)
Set in a bleak and rain-bedrizzled Glasgow, this is the story of Donald Pinelli, whose mother Trixie is not only mad, she's psychic too - not a good combination, especially when it means she's convinced Donald is cursed to die by drowning on his eighteenth birthday. As if that it isn't enough, Donald has to contend with a gangster father, siblings who hate him and a best friend who betrays him. Life's mince, and no mistake. But an unexpected encounter with a cantankerous turtle in a rundown zoo abruptly sets young Donald on a crash course in survival.
'Years later, Trixie's death brings an older but not much wiser Donald back to Glasgow - to attend her funeral, sort through his childhood memories, come to terms with his failures, and maybe, who knows, forge a new life for himself without his carapace of bitterness and resentment. (Publisher's blurb)