Chasing the McCubbin


ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-925760-59-0 Format: ISBN: 978-1-925760-59-0, Trade PB 272pp Rights: World Release / Publication Date: 01 /03 /2021

This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


The Pines, an outer Melbourne suburb down on its luck. A country in the grip of recession.

Experienced collector Ron senses new possibilities: swift evictions provide hard-rubbish to scour and garage-sales have doubled. There’s only one problem: since losing his wife, Ron has struggled to navigate the suburbs alone. Plus, his deteriorating health slows him down.

This all changes through a chance meeting with Joseph, a troubled, withdrawn and unemployed 19-year old who knows nothing about antiques. As Joseph comes to understand and appreciate Ron’s world of eccentric bargain hunters, and hopefulness, his ability to navigate a history of family violence and to see a future for himself grows. Both come to share the wild dream of finding a rare bargain such as an original Frederick McCubbin painting and making their fortune. So begins an exhilarating adventure and an unlikely and beautiful friendship.

Set against the background of the early 1990s, Chasing the McCubbin is funny and sad in equal measure. A story of loneliness and the ageless desire for belonging, it will be the most heartbreaking yet feel-good novel you will read this year.

‘Truly fine writing with a great sense of characters and place, sympathetic and heartfelt without being sentimental, Scaunich pulls us into a fascinating world of low stakes and petty rivalries.’

GRAEME SIMSION, author of The Rosie Project

 ‘Authentic, subtle, evocative and alive.’


Sandi Scaunich has worked extensively in government and non-government organisations, as well as an academic and tutor across three Melbourne universities, in the fields of anthropology, public health and gender equality. Her writing has appeared in various online blogs, academic reports, as well as The Age newspaper. When not writing, hunting for second-hand bargains or spending time with her husband, children and Pesca the Kelpie x, she works as a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant. Chasing the McCubbin is her first novel.