Winner, Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2018
Winner, Queensland Literary Award, Steele Rudd Prize
Shortlisted, NSW Premier's Literary Award, Christina Stead Prize for Fiction 2018
The characters in Pulse Points live in small dusty towns, glittering exotic cities and slow droll suburbs; they are mourners, survivors and perpetrators.
In the award-winning 'Aokigahara', a young woman travels to the sea of trees in Japan to say goodbye. In 'Coarsegold', a woman conducts an illicit affair while her recovering girlfriend works the overnight motel shift in the middle of nowhere. In 'Dogs', Foggo runs an unruly gang of bored, cruel boys with a scent for fresh meat. In 'Pressure Okay', a middle-aged man goes to the theatre, gets a massage, remembers his departed wife, navigates the long game of grief with his adult daughter.
Jennifer Down, whose first novel, Our Magic Hour, was commended in the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, is a masterful stylist whose sharp eye has been compared to that of Helen Garner. Pulse Points is a gutting collection that showcases a writer of great talent.
Pulse Points is available via Text Publishing.
‘Down deftly balances hope and sorrow—a tightrope walk that makes even the banal seem salient ... A collection pulsing with emotion; a writer crackling with potential.’
‘With precise and beautiful prose, the short stories in Jennifer Down’s Pulse Points carry an emotional clarity and intensity that is truly impressive.’
'I love sad Australians and crying on the tram, thanks'
Goodreads user Soph
‘These stories are studies in concision and with their strong social justice message they function like shocks. Though they are often about the disempowered, they ripple out with a seismic intensity, hinting at just how far this dazzling young writer might go.’
‘Pulse Points is an impressively poised and even collection …Down’s stories are alive with psychological acuity and technical dexterity. They offer thoughtful, sometimes heartbreaking, insights into our anxieties and desires … Readers of her intelligent, subtle, and affecting prose clearly have much to look forward to.’
Australian Book Review
‘This is a finely crafted collection that reminds us how sad and beautiful it is simply to be alive ... The emotional depth of her writing displays a gift that will no doubt continue to unfold as her body of work grows.’
The Saturday Paper
‘Pulse Points consolidates [Down’s] reputation as a remarkable young writer. Her stories are effortlessly global yet strongly anchored in place. They testify to Down’s remarkable powers of observation and her ability to create bleak but engaging worlds.’
Michelle de Kretser, ‘Best Books of 2017’, Australian Book Review
Shortlisted, New South Wales Premier's Literary Award, Glenda Adams Award for New Writing 2017
Shortlisted, Voss Prize 2017
Longlisted, Dobbie Literary Award 2018
Audrey, Katy and Adam have been friends since high school—a decade of sneaky cigarettes, drunken misadventures on Melbourne backstreets, heart-to-hearts, in-jokes.
But now Katy's gone. And without her, Audrey is thrown off balance: everything she thought she knew, everything she believed was true, is bent out of shape.
Audrey’s family—her neurotic mother, her wayward teenage brother, her uptight suburban sister—is likely to fall apart. Her boyfriend, Nick, tries to hold their relationship together. And Audrey, caught in the middle, needs to find a reason to keep going when everything around her suddenly seems wrong.
A story of love, loss and discovery, Our Magic Hour captures that moment when being young and invincible gives way to being open and vulnerable, when one terrible act changes a life forever.
'Down’s evocation of … grief is astute, perceptive and always convincing … Subtle, never resorting to easy histrionics or undue moments of catharsis ... compelling writing’
'Down is an exceptional writer who displays real control over language. I’m sure that this novel will launch her career as a major new literary talent. Our Magic Hour is beautiful, gut-wrenching fiction'
'Down has an impressive feel for the drama of the ordinary'
The Sydney Morning Herald
'Down’s supple social realism has a vitality and energy to it'
The Lifted Brow
'An emotionally sophisticated and impressive novel'
Australian Book Review
‘Striking, breathlessly written…Down’s clear and confident voice can play originally with language…An eloquent debut.’