WINNER Miles Franklin Literary Award 2016
Black Rock White City is a novel about the damages of war, the limits of choice, and the hope of love.
During a hot Melbourne summer, Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.
Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour.
‘What impresses first about A.S. Patrić’s novel is the assuredness of the writing, his accomplished and confident language. But what is most moving is the humanity of his story, the vividness and truth of his characters’ emotional worlds. Black Rock White City is bold, mature and compassionate. I couldn’t put it down.’ Christos Tsiolkas
‘Trauma writes itself into the body, and will sometimes write itself out again. Turning about an unraveling horror in a Melbourne hospital, a couple deeply scarred in the wartime crucible of Sarajevo try to right themselves in the strange light of a new land. Black Rock White City is a taut and compelling novel from one of the finest of Australia’s emerging writers.’ David Brooks
‘A joy to read someone with such an intense devotion to the architecture of writing.’
Cameron Woodhead, The Age
Extraordinarily powerful debut novel.
It is very good; it may be a classic.
The Saturday Paper
Intense, lyrical and troubling.
Sydney Morning Herald and The Sunday Age
Bleak, but also intensely beautiful, Black Rock White City is compelling reading.
The Big Issue. Five Star review.
This is not a pick-me-up, put-me-down book. Patric builds his characters superbly and the plot builds to a shocking and surprising climax. Some of the writing is confronting but it will grab your attention and not let it go.
Barry Dick, Sunday Territorian
Everyone is a victim. Lives are ruined. Tragedy does not take sides. And therein lies the knockout blow of this truly wonderful novel: the scars endure, the poison continues to course through the vein, but simple humanity might still triumph.
Bram Presser, http://baitforbookworms.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/microviews-vol-54-war-in-pieces.html
It’s not just another relationship novel; it’s not justa novel about sad migrant experiences and damaged people. Black Rock White City is a novel about the complexity of city life and although it is firmly grounded in the suburbs of Melbourne, it is universal in its fully realised ambitions.
Lisa Hill, http://anzlitlovers.com/2015/02/16/black-rock-white-city-by-a-s-patric/
It’s a story of war without being a war story; it’s thrilling but without a thriller’s tendency to rely on stereotyped heroes and victims. It’s the kind of almost-mystery novel you’ll race to the end of, then bemoan the fact you didn’t take more time to savour. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a tale of heartbreak in reverse.