By Shaun Prescott
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018
The people in the town lived as if they would never die, but they were not heroic or foolish like in books and songs. They were only there. This is Australia: an unnamed, dead-end town in the heart of the outback. A young writer arrives in New South Wales to research local settlements that are slowly vanishing into oblivion – but he didn’t expect these ghost towns to literally disappear before his eyes.
When an epidemic of mysterious holes begins to threaten the town’s existence, he is plunged into an abyss of weirdness from which he may never recover. Dark, slippery and unsettling, Shaun Prescott’s debut novel achieves many things. It resurrects the existentialist novel, excavates a nation’s buried history of colonial genocide, and tells a love story that asks if outsiders can ever truly belong. Through a glass darkly, The Town examines the shadowy underbelly of Australian identity – and the result is a diquieting novel that vibrates with an occult power
"The Town moves with a gentle command amid the obvious reference points of Calvino, Kafka, and Abe, but it also invokes less-celebrated English-language predecessors, like the novels of Steve Erickson, and Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome. In the manner of Erickson and Warner,Prescott seeks the universal in a meticulous paraphrase of the here and now, and finds the dislocation hiding in locality, to show us just how lost we really may be.” – Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude
"Shaun Prescott’s debut novel is a dense singularity, an exploration of the idea of nowhere as the centre of the world, and a stark paean to loneliness, entropy, and marginal existence — sustained by the kind of slow, luminous prose that feels like the equivalent of staring straight into the sun." — David Keenan, author of This is Memorial Device
"The Town really got under my skin. There's a deceptive lightness to Prescott's style, so this is a book that really creeps up on the reader: all of a sudden you're swept away by, even bound to, this thing that's mournful, intense, and unsettling. It will stay with me." — Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies
“A bizarre novel—a séance for Kafka, Walser and Calvino—that tackles the ever-disappearing boundaries between youth and aging, between music and silence, the past and present. In a spry and lonely voice, Shaun Prescott has written an ominous work of absurdity.” Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers
About the Author
Shaun Prescott is a writer based in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. He has self-released several small books of fiction, including Erica from Sales and The End of Trolleys, and has been the editor of Crawlspace Magazine. His writing has appeared in The Lifted Brow, the Guardian and Meanjin, among other places, and The Town is his debut novel.