Award winning Australian author Chris Womersley depicts Australian suburbia so acutely you can almost recognise the street, or the house, or the backyard being described. His sixth novel, Ordinary Gods and Monsters, has been described as a “Mozart comic opera set in suburban Australia”. It is dark, yet funny, Womersley always aware of the comic possibilities of each encounter and incident. Another prominent theme pervading each of Womersley’s novels is how we navigate our way from youth to adulthood. In this novel Nick Wheatley is doing just that, traversing that fraught liminal period before taking the next step into adulthood. His best friend Marion’s father has been killed in a mysterious hit and run. Visiting his local drug-dealer, the quirky Becky, to get something to cheer Marion up, Nick finds himself taking part in a séance. The result of which sets in motion a series of events both exciting and dangerous. The cast of characters constitute those ‘gods and monsters’ which live in ordinary suburbia, and with whom Nick and Marion must navigate and negotiate with if they are to solve the mystery and indeed to survive. Written with poise, this is a page turner of a novel. You are with Nick and Marion at every turn. What is perhaps most surprising is the tenderness and emotion conveyed in the some of the most ordinary moments. As Nick says, “Sometimes, it’s tenderness that cracks you open in the end.” Well worth a read.
Chris Womersley's gods and monsters live in suburban backyards, bedrooms, playgrounds, cul-de-sacs and scraps of bush. Colouring this landscape with the vivid dreams and fears of childhood, he elevates it into a mythic realm, exciting and dangerous and a lot more. This novel is a work of magic. It's a note-perfect crime thriller for anyone who longs to see the world as new and to feel it as sharply as they did as a child.'