Between a Wolf and a Dog
Outside, the rain continues unceasing; silver sheets sluicing down, the trees and shrubs soaking and bedraggled, the earth sodden, puddles overflowing, torrents coursing onwards, as the darkness slowly softens with the dawn.
Ester is a family therapist with an appointment book that catalogs the anxieties of the middle class: loneliness, relationships, death. She spends her days helping others find happiness, but her own family relationships are tense and frayed. Estranged from both her sister, April, and her ex-husband, Lawrence, Ester wants to fall in love again. Meanwhile, April is struggling through her own directionless life; Lawrence's reckless past decisions are catching up with him; and Ester and April's mother, Hilary, is about to make a choice that will profoundly affect them all.
Taking place largely over one rainy day in Sydney, and rendered with the evocative and powerful prose Blain is known for, Between a Wolf and a Dog is a celebration of the best in all of us -- our capacity to live in the face of ordinary sorrows, and to draw strength from the transformative power of art. Ultimately, it is a joyous tribute to the beauty of being alive.
Winner of Victorian Premier's Literary Award - Victorian Premier's Prize for Fiction 2017 and Queensland Literary Awards: University of Queensland Fiction Book Award 2016.
'[A]n elegant novel, written in lucent and, at times, luminous prose. It is a work of delicately detailed emotion and beautiful balance, and it is so well paced that its narrative is utterly compelling. It is a remarkable portrayal of family relationships, and the complex and often competing desires and sensitivities that drive them, but it is mostly a book about love and forgiveness, and holding on to our good fortune and our loved ones, even and especially in the face of loss. It is heartfelt and resonant, and a remarkable novel that lingers long after its final page.' -Weekend Australian;'Blain just gets better and better. The clarity, warmth, and precision of Between a Wolf and a Dog brings to mind the formal beauty of an exquisitely cut gemstone. Blain looks at the big questions - mortality, grief, forgiveness - through the lens of one family's everyday struggle to love each other. This portrait of marriage and work, of sisterhood, mothers, and daughters is resolute and clear-eyed; so commanding and beautifully written it made me cry.' -Charlotte Wood, author of The Natural Way of Things;'[An] elegant, intelligent and affecting novel from a writer at the height of her powers.' -The Saturday Paper;'Heartfelt, wise, and emotionally intelligent, Between a Wolf and a Dog is a beautifully tender exploration of the complications of family love, self-knowledge, and the struggle for forgiveness.' -Gail Jones, author of A Guide to Berlin;'Blain is a writer of such lucidity and strength that her characters speak, undeniably, for themselves ... What makes it possible to contain tragedy in words, so that the reader enters into the experience and passes through it, cleansed? The Greek playwrights had their own answers to this question; but the question, I suspect, is far older than their version of it. Each generation of authors must find the right words for writing about death. Part of the reason Between a Wolf and a Dog succeeds so well is that everything in the novel is heartfelt without being in the least sentimental.' -Sydney Morning Herald;'What a marvellously clear eye Georgia Blain has for the ways in which we love and harm one another. Whether she is observing a "coconut-ice" grevillea or meditating on everyday consolations and sorrows, Blain is a quietly profound writer and this is a remarkable book.' -Michelle De Kretser, author of Questions of Travel;'Between a Wolf and a Dog is an elegantly told story describing the ambiguities within human relationships. Each evening, when my children slept, I would enter the world of this book - coming to know a flawed, courageous, and creative family of characters, as they struggled to be good, to be whole, and finally, to let go.' -Sofie Laguna, author of The Eye of the Sheep