2022 ABIA Longlisted- Wild Abandon by Emily Bitto
In the fall of 2011, a heartbroken young man flees Australia for the USA. Landing in the excessive, uncanny-familiar glamour and plenitude of New York City, Will makes a vow to say yes to everything that comes his way. By fate or random chance, Will’s journey takes him deep into the American heartland where he meets Wayne Gage, a fast-living, troubled Vietnam veteran, would-be spirit guide and collector of exotic animals. These two men in crisis form an unlikely friendship, but Will has no idea just how close to the edge Wayne truly is.
Wild Abandon is a headlong tumble through the falling world of end-days capitalism, a haunting, hyperreal snapshot of our own strange times. We read with increasing horror and denial as we approach the cataclysmic conclusion of Will’s American odyssey, dreading what is galloping towards us, but utterly unable to look away.
This lyrical and devastating new novel from the Stella Prize-winning author of The Strays offers us startling and profound visions of the world and our place in it.
‘Thrilling and heartbreaking by turns-a glorious novel.’
Michelle de Kretser
‘Wild Abandon made me fall in love with fiction again . . . Only a superlative can do it justice: this is a great novel.’
‘What a fearless talent . . . and what an exhilarating novel.’