I have exciting news for you, friends.
Firstly, if you’ve hung around this blog for any time at all, you know that Australian author Melina Marchetta is my QUEEN. (See here, here, here.)
She is a master of characters, and my favorite crew of hers first appears in Saving Francesca: Frankie, Will, Siobhan, Justine, Tara, Tom, and Jimmy. After Saving Francesca, the crew reunites in The Piper’s Son, which is Tom’s story, set five years later. Everyone has been begging for years for Jimmy’s story.
Back in April 2013, in a Goodreads-sponsored discussion, Melina made my heart go BOOM when she teased:
Jimmy’s not going anywhere, but it’s just not his time yet. All I know about him is that he is the first of Frankie gang to start breeding (accidently).
In the four years since, she has posted on her blog about Jim from time to time. Earlier this month, she posted there was a forthcoming short story:
My short story is called When Rosie met Jim. It’s about a young woman who finds herself stranded in a Queensland town during a flood, where she meets a guy named Jim. (the title is quite literal, and yes, it’s him for those who know my previous work).
A couple days ago, she added this:
It will be a novel primarily about one house, four characters, five lives, and told through three points of view.
Jimmy is 23 years old in When Rosie met Jim. In the novel, he’ll be about 25 because it takes place in Sydney about two years after the events of the short story. It’s not YA, but regardless, I’m predictable. It’s a generational story and it’s character driven, relationship driven and pretty much about community, solace and the ties that bind. (and netball).
OH. AND THIS ALSO HAPPENED:
Peeps, I read it last night, and it was everything I wanted it to be. More.
First, you don’t have to have read her other books in order to read this story. It’s brilliant even on its own, and of course, it has added meaning for fans who miss the Sydney crew.
Next, it works as a short story– yes, it is an excerpt (or something like it) from what will eventually be a full-length novel (PRAISE GOD), but it works on its own too as a short story. What I mean is that it’s got its own narrative arc; you won’t feel dissatisfied at the end (though you will feel so desperate for more).
Lastly, I don’t know how on earth she does it, but there is not one word extra in this, nor one word missing. It’s perfect and has the right amount of action and vulnerability to enamor you in so few pages. (Frankly, I re-read Marchetta’s books over and over, hoping that I will somehow take on her writing capabilities– and yet, every time, I’m reminded she is the master.) There is foreshadowing and the ideal amount of backstory to offer both grounding and intrigue. The characters are multi-dimensional, and … OMGOSH, I don’t know how to wait for the entire book. I guess if I survived the wait for Quintana, I will survive this too, right? Right?? (P.S. I bought the Australian edition of Quintana, since it came out 6 months before the American version. I am not excellent at patience.)
This issue of Review of Australian Fiction comes out tomorrow (er, um, maybe today actually, since Australia is ahead of the USA) and is available for only $2.99 at this link:
Go. Buy. Be delighted (readers) and envious (writers). While you’re at it, buy all her books. I promise you they are the best.
Quick whatever-this-is: I want you to know this is not sponsored. I don’t get anything when you purchase this … except for the satisfaction of knowing I’ve introduced you to your new favorite author. Enjoy!
Awesome. I’m excited to hear about the new novel and short story.