Salt River Road

Salt River Road


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*** Winner of the City of Fremantle TAG Hungerford Award ***

Salt River Road is a compelling coming-of-age novel about grief and healing set in a small town in the 1970s.

In the aftermath of their mother's death, the Tetley siblings' lives are falling apart. Left to fend for themselves as their family farm goes to ruins, Rose sets out to escape the grief and mess of home. When she meets Noongar Elders Patsy and Herbert, she finds herself drawn into a home where she has the chance to discover the strength of community, and to heal a wound her family has carried for a generation. Salt River Road is a poignant exploration of healing and resilience, small-town racism and the power of human connection.

- Peta

'This story retains an innocence and a sense of decency even as it glides through pain, love and complex politics. It's refreshing, and open, and kind of tricky.' Kim Scott
'An amazing new talent.' Brett D'Arcy


Second review:

West Australian author Molly Schmidt’s striking debut novel Salt River Road, winner of the Hungerford Award, has affinities with the work of Tim Winton. Her novel explores the traumatic effects of grief on a working-class family, focused on the responses of twins, Rose and Frank, as they struggle to deal with the first major setback in their lives. Schmidt brilliantly combines a sense of their ordinary, ongoing life - underage drinking on the jetty, frequent trips to the local bakery – with their unspoken grief, set against a backdrop of a beautifully evoked rural landscape.

This story of a white family is given ethical depth by including Indigenous voices. Schmidt tells us in the preface to her novel that she has worked closely with Indigenous elders, who gave her permission to tell their stories. To Schmidt’s great credit that she has told these stories respectfully, and her extensive research into Indigenous culture has been smoothly integrated into the narrative. Salt River Road is a beautifully written novel about a family undone by grief, and the possibility of healing.

- Patrick