‘Expansive, engrossing, beautifully worked and fully-imagined, Relatively Famous is not just a novel about the emotional fallout of artistic genius – though it is that; it’s a novel about parents and children and the life-long negotiations – for independence, for approval, for love – that go on between them. If it’s true, as the poet Philip Larkin wrote, that “man hands on misery to man,” then we’re fortunate that Averill is the kind of writer who understands how much more there is to that crucial exchange; who understands that along with the baton of misery comes the potential for understanding, perhaps even forgiveness. This novel, to recall Larkin again, deepens like a coastal shelf, perhaps because of all the life it’s gathered to itself.’
Mark Slouka, author of Brewster and Nobody’s Son
Michael and Marjorie Madigan refuse to be interviewed by biographer Sinclair Hughes for his new book Inside the Lion’s Den: The Literary Life of Gilbert Madigan. This is not surprising as Gilbert is Marjorie’s ex-husband and Michael’s mostly absent father. He is also Australia’s first Booker Prize winner, a feted and much lauded author that the U.K. and U.S. now like to call their own. Michael cannot escape his father’s life and work, and at times his own life seems swallowed by it. His father’s success is a source of undeniable pleasure but also of great turmoil. In a world that increasingly covets fame and celebrity, Relatively Famous subtly explores notions of success, masculinity, betrayal and loss, and ultimately what it might mean to live a good life.
‘Multi-layered and moving. In this intelligently imagined narrative, Averill exposes the tensions and complexities of family relationships, and the struggle for identity, with rich and poignant effect.’ Dominique Wilson, author of That Devil’s Madness and The Yellow Papers