The New Ships – Kate Duignan


Peter Collie reassesses past events in the wake of his wife’s death only to discover new secrets.

⚑ “Family matters are at the fore of Peter Collie’s life. Upon his wife’s death Peter learns of secrets kept about his children and he reveals his angst and desire to learn the truth.

“There is a lot of narrative investment in his passivity, and Duigan has aptly built a maelstrom of activity around this melancholic central character. The hidden depths of Peter, that exist in everyone, are eeked out over the pages in various strands of intrigue. This character study is never dull and an example of how interesting every person’s story would be, were we able to read them like a book.

“However I found the novel’s ending and the reveal of outcomes of major intrigues disappointing. Storylines I’d I’d been heavily invested in were suddenly wrapped up in only a few sentences. Surely more drawn-out, tension-filled conclusions would have been in keeping with the book’s focus on Peter’s self-analysis and grief.” – Rachel

⚑ “I haven’t experienced the pain of anyone close to me passing away so can’t imagine the intense grief and what it may or may not drive me to do. I often reflected on this while reading The New Ships because I can’t assume my response would be sane and measured and that my life would eventually carry on in its usual way.

“So while the behaviour of some of the characters in the novel was at times neither socially acceptable nor rational, I was constantly provoked into thinking how socially acceptable or rational would my own conduct be in this situation? I could quite easily lose my shit without even really thinking twice about it.

“I really enjoyed the storyline of The New Ships and while some of the events were just a bit too coincidental to be believable I was still fully invested in all the characters and their lives.” – Suzy

Published 2018
Victoria University Press
362 pages

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