It’s 1991. Rob Ross, an ad executive, is suffering a moral crisis in his high rise office when his dead father slips through the window to ask Rob to help film an exposé of the Darwin bombing. Rob finds himself catapulted back to 1942…
It’s 1964. Selena Wakefield has just given birth. Startled awake, she finds her baby gone…
Also featuring an invisible crocodile, a talking severed hand, singing paintings and big wave surfing off the wild coast of Tasmania, this work will keep you guessing.
Blood is a far-reaching and multi-layered work that must be read to be believed. Kay’s clean, sharp prose and poignant voice transport the reader through different times, places and points of view as smoothly as a time machine. Playfully eccentric in places and heart-achingly sad in others, with a dark, comedic vein lying just below the surface, Blood is an exceptional work of fiction.
ISBN 9781922120038 (PB, 138pp);
|AUD $33||USD $24||NZD $36||GBP £18||EUR €22|
|ISBN 9781922120045 (eBook)||AUD $17||USD $10||NZD $19||GBP £7.5||EUR €9|
Blood by Tasmanian-based author Peter Kay, is a compelling and moving work of fiction that is also a remarkable love story.
– Sunday Tasmanian
Having published his first novel, Peter Kay has never been happier than he is in the latest chapter of his life. He took a circuitous route to get there, but the life of a writer suits Peter Kay just fine. Blood was partly inspired by the classic satirical World War II novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and Peter’s dad’s experiences of the war in Darwin."
–The Mercury Saturday Magazine feature article
A dead father transports his son back in time to film the Darwin bombings, while a woman whose child is taken from her hangs a painting, which starts to sing. These are typical scenes in the world created by Peter Kay in his debut novel Blood.
The book explores the darker places of Australian history, taking the reader through different times and perspectives, detailing the bombing of Darwin, the 1950s and 1960s forced adoptions, and depression as a major national illness."
– The University of Canberra Monitor
Blood-y good read!
Blood sits firmly in the Magical Realism genre, so things get a bit weird at times. It’s 1991 and the protagonist, advertising exec Robb Ross, is visited by his long-dead father, with whom he travels back in time to film an expose of the bombing of Darwin in 1942. And along the way it features an invisible crocodile, a talking severed hand and big wave surfing off the coast of Tasmania. Romance, electroconvulsive therapy and forced adoption are also thrown into the mix. But it’s never confusing and comes to a satisfying resolution.
In some ways Blood reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s work, particularly Slaughterhouse Five, although it’s in no way derivative. It’s the satirical tone that comes through. The surfing scenes are really good, too; I suspect that Kay has been out there in the big waves. And speaking as a former Navy pilot, the flying scenes are very authentic. The ECT stuff also rings true, as do the drug taking scenes. Overall, it’s good reading. I read it in one go, which is something that I rarely do these days. Treat yourself. Buy it and read it."
– Richard Parker, Amazon reader reviews
Compelling in its interweaving of realism and fabulation, Peter Kay’s Blood is a love story which powerfully illuminates some of the darker places in the Australian national psyche: the controversial bombing of Darwin, forced adoptions in the 1950s and 60s, and depression as a major national illness. By turns clever, tender, scathing, fantastic and funny, Kay’s voice is original and strong."
– Wally Woods, Associate Professor, School of Literary & Cultural Studies, Central Queensland University
In Blood, Peter Kay leads the reader on a journey through time, the Tasmanian surf and the darker side of the human psyche. We tread twisted tracks branching off into World War II, forced adoption, gay rights, the art world and the ethics of marketing. Blood tells a story of love: love lost and love discovered. Peter Kay writes with sensitivity, brilliance, insight and, above all, humour.
Blood will leave you nodding knowingly and smiling, perhaps with a tear in your eye.
Not without it’s thread of weirdness, Blood will leave you thinking. A well-worth it read with a difference."
– Cheryl Chenevier
Rated 5 out of 5 stars. Blood combines several genres in a spinning, sometimes psychedelic blender. Yes, things sometimes get weird and even surreal in this novel by Peter Kay, but never in confusing or annoying ways. Rather, Kay’s unique blend – of war, romance, surfing, electroshock therapy and time travel, all mixed with a satirical critique of the ills of the modern world and a sharp ear for dialogue – all builds to an inventive and satisfying conclusion. In short, this novel by Peter Kay is a barnstorming blockbuster, a psychological saga for the new millennium."
– D.C. Green, Goodreads
Blood is a book like none other I have read.
Peter Kay tells a story of love, history and ethics taking you to places you may have chosen to avoid. He does this with genius insight, profound sensitivity and brilliant wit. He takes his reader through ethical boundaries and artistic unrealities.
He takes them through realms unvisited and those often avoided. But he takes them there with clarity, passion, pain and love.
The reader is lulled through first person experiences so even the most far-fetched situations are not only acceptable, but lived.
Blood is unique in its ability to span time, space and fabulation blended with pain, presence and humour. Blood is a novel that will have you wondering long after you have put it down."
– Paul, Amazon reader reviews
Peter Kay’s novel Blood is wonderfully individual and strange (that’s one of my most complimentary words!) and moves in a way that reminds me of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying."
– Peter Bishop, Creative Director, Varuna, The Writers’ House, 1994 – 2010
The interesting thing about Kay’s magic realism is that it looks easy to the reader. You just make the portrait speak or the dead father step through the window.
It’s incredibly hard to write that way and and bring the reader with you. There is so much skill in doing that so that it’s believable and the reader will suspend judgement, and trust that you’re taking them somewhere amazing and new.
Peter Kay treads bravely into dark territory where there’s atrocity and tragedy mixed with humour. It’s very finely done, so that things that make you smile also cut you to the heart."
– Poet, Esther Ottaway
It was refreshing to read a book with such clean, concise writing and short chapters, proving you don’t have to be wordy or lengthy to write something thought-provoking and emotionally stirring. I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the attack on Darwin during the WWII. The book fits the magical realism genre (it has a bit in common with Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five), and many of these sequences give the novel a sense of humour (such as the soldier who talks to an invisible crocodile that he keeps on a leash). If I had to use one word to describe Blood, it would be ‘heart-warming’. Well worth the read."
– Anonymous Reader
Blood is an unputdownable read. Original, funny, sad, brilliant…"
– Tiziana Botti
Wonderful words that will amaze many, many readers."
– Irene McGuire
– Diana Quilliam
This is truly a brilliant and amazingly well-written book. I found the story most intriguing, especially when it involved talking severed hands and heads, and a delightful love story thrown into the mix. I also felt that Peter Kay’s words flowed very well and it all came to a great ending. It is a definite "will read again" book."
– Oklahoma reader, Amazon reader reviews
Excerpt from Chapter 5: You tell me On the 10th of February 1942, I’d been flown from Adelaide to Alice Springs and was sitting in the ’drome out of the hot wind and hard light, waiting for a ride to Darwin. I thought about Emma and the baby on the way, wondering what we would call him or her, wondering if I would be there for the birth. Being an airforce pilot before the war was one thing. Now, with most of my mates in England fighting the Germans and the Jap raid on Pearl Harbor, it was something else again. Emma, Emma … both of us lonely and scared … love you sweetheart, miss you.
After an hour or so I was approached by an immaculately dressed and groomed young pilot. ‘Teddy Merridew,’ he said, offering his hand. ‘Sorry I’m late Sir, had trouble getting a kite.’
'Teddy. Are we ready to get underway?’ Teddy looked through the heat haze at the strip, where a two-seater Wirraway trainer stood, red with thick streaks of dust.
‘Is that the best they can do?’ I said. ‘I hoped I’d seen my last Wirraway for a while.’
‘They’re all we’ve got,’ said Teddy, defensively. ‘I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get this one.’
‘Does it have the range to get us there?’
‘It’s had an extra fuel tank fitted.’
‘So I’ve been assigned to a fighter squadron without any fighters?’
‘That’s right. They say we’ll have them soon.’ Heads down, leaning into the wind, we lugged my gear across the strip to the Wirraway, while gusts scooped the loose surface of the land and threw it in our faces. Teddy did his pre-flight checks with meticulous care, and making just the right allowance for the cross-wind, had us up, cruising straight and level as smoothly as you like.
The red desert stretched in drifts below us, seemingly endless: rumpled mountains casting purple shadows, huge rock formations; steep, sweeping escarpments – brown, orange-yellow ochres topped by blue smears of bush or bleached and bald and sharp; winding dry river beds with gum trees growing in them, tessellated orange cliffs, crazy patterns of thousands of dry creeks, stunted purple-green bushes, on and on … At last, rich green mangrove swamps, clinging to the fringes of the great arid distances. Tall palms, ghostly gums and rain trees around Darwin and its harbour, with its soft greens and blues, crowded with shipping. Troops, wharfies, a few Aborigines and white civilians, some bustling, some sauntering or talking on street corners.
Teddy made a sweep over the harbour which was crowded with fighting ships, freighters, tankers, a munitions ship, a hospital ship, tugs, barges …
‘Isn’t that a sight to make you feel safer?’ Teddy’s tone showed he knew better.
‘They’re moored very close together, Ted, and there’s no radar.’
Teddy flew over the army barracks, the hospitals, their red crosses plainly marked, a few scattered coastal gun emplacements, the Court House and Police Station, the Post Office, Government House, the streets of the town.
The RAAF ’drome was in a shocking state. Aircraft and buildings were exposed, huddled together when they should have been dispersed and camouflaged. A couple of American Kittyhawks were being worked on in the open, a Hudson bomber and a few Wirraways stood idle on the strip, but no RAAF fighters.
‘Teddy, who’s in charge of that shemozzle down there?’
‘Wing Commander named Worthington.’
As we passed over the main road, people in ones and twos and small groups, most walking, some in open army trucks, were carrying their belongings south, struggling through the tropical heat.
‘What’s that, Teddy?’
‘They call it a routine evacuation, moving out the civilians, mostly women and children.’
‘So they’re expecting an attack?’
‘You’ve seen the harbour and the RAAF ’drome. You tell me.’
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