The Terrible Event


ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-6455653-3-1 Format: Trade PB (234x 153mm) 224pp Rights: World Release / Publication Date: 01 /06 /2023
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From the winner of the Russell Prize for Humour Writing. David Cohen’s most wryly humorous and disturbing work of fiction yet.

A public memorial’s name is changed to avoid any mention of the tragedy it has been set up to commemorate. Two attention-seeking activists campaign against exclusionary policies adopted by the gift shop at a suburban shopping mall. A customer service representative becomes obsessed with a colleague who has worked from home for so long, nobody in the company remembers her. A middle-aged father loses his marriage and falls in love again with a cherished but damagedchildhood toy. An academic’s research into roadside memorials takes a peculiar turn.  

David Cohen’s sometimes bizarre yet pitch-perfect stories capture everyday horrorsbut are always shot through with a profound empathy and generosity.

The Terrible Event delivers not just one terrible event, but many events of varying degrees of terrible-ness. Death, destruction, disappearance, decline, defeat – it has something for everyone. 

‘Wildly inventive. Deeply unsettling. Delightfully strange. The Terrible Event is Cohen’s best, most hilarious book yet. I absolutely loved it.’

Bram Presser, The Book of Dirt

‘These are not the stand-up comedian’s one-liners; they have an awareness of the absurd, the surreal, the comic, in everyday life; the true comic’s unsettling serious gaze at the strange ways we make sense of existence.’

Judges, Russell Prize for Humour Writing.

David Cohen is the author of the novels Fear of Tennis and Disappearing off the Face of the Earth and the short-story collection The Hunter and Other Stories of Men, which won the 2019 Russell Prize for Humour Writing. His stories have appeared in Australian Book Review, The Big Issue, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Overland, and elsewhere. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.