The Town by Shaun Prescott

$26.00

Dark, slippery and unsettling, Shaun Prescott’s debut resurrects the existential novel for the age of sprawl and blight, excavates a nation’s buried history of colonial genocide, and tells a love story that asks if outsiders can ever truly belong anywhere.

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“The Town is a broody book about (lack of) purpose, depression, disappointment, and existential ennui. It is also a book about longnecks of beer, bong hits, grocery stores, and cassette tapes. The narrator is an unnamed writer investigating disappearing towns in New South Wales — or trying to, at least: mostly he works at a grocery store and chats with the few eccentric occupants of his own town.

I could keep detailing things that happen, but… nothing really does. Characters don’t change, the town’s history is non-existent, and even the narrator eventually quits searching for answers. At points it’s almost a slog, but it always feels purposefully so — Prescott’s mastery of tone is more important than any plot, frankly. The atmosphere is as evocative as it is oppressive, a perfect distillation of boredom and loneliness on the edge of oblivion.” – Terry

This is Australia, an unnamed, dead-end town in the heart of the outback—a desolate place of gas stations, fast-food franchises, and labyrinthine streets: flat and nearly abandoned. When a young writer arrives to research just such depressing middles-of-nowhere, to study them as they slowly vanish into oblivion, he finds something more sinister than economic depression: these ghost towns appear to be literally disappearing before his eyes. An epidemic of mysterious holes is threatening his new home’s very existence, and this discovery plunges him into an abyss of weirdness from which he may never escape.

Dark, slippery and unsettling, Shaun Prescott’s debut resurrects the existential novel for the age of sprawl and blight, excavates a nation’s buried history of colonial genocide, and tells a love story that asks if outsiders can ever truly belong anywhere.

Through a glass darkly, The Town examines the shadowy underbelly of Australian identity—and the result is a disquieting classic that vibrates with an occult power.

The Town by Shaun Prescott
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