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Treading Air

by Ariella Van Luyn

In 1920s Queensland, Lizzie O’Dea wants to get away from her dad and the memories of her mum that haunt her. At the races she meets attractive, war-scarred Joe and sees her chance to escape. But life with Joe isn’t what she dreamt it would be.

Finding herself on the fringes of society, Lizzie discovers a new sense of independence and sexuality, love and friendship. It’s a precarious life, though, always on the edge of collapse.

Two decades later, Lizzie is sick and worn out. Lying in a Brisbane lock hospital, she thinks about Joe, who’s been lost to her for many years. But she’s a survivor. There’s hope yet.

Set between Brisbane and Townsville, and based on real events that the author uncovered from historical archives, Treading Air is the remarkably vivid tale of a young Australian working-class rebel who clashed with the expectations of her world.

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Praise

‘A cinematic, beautiful novel. Van Luyn’s characters burn bright in the thirsty, sweltering air of the tropics, and her writing is superb and seductive.’ – TARA JUNE WINCH

‘[An] intriguing, accomplished novel … Van Luyn writes smoothly and has a way with realistic dialogue and skill at writing small moments of touch, fleeting feelings and details of landscape that build a rounded tale.’ – WEEKLY TIMES

‘Startlingly beautiful, a joy! Van Luyn renders this time in Australian history in full technicolour.’ – ALICE ROBINSON

‘Vivid tale of love, friendship, independence and survival’ – SATELITE NEWSPAPER

‘Ariella Van Luyn has crafted a rare and surprising historical depiction of a woman who lusts and loves, and owns her own sexuality even when it nearly kills her. I love Lizzie O’Dea, a fallen woman who is tough and tender — a desiring, sensuous creature who deserves compassion without ever demanding pity.’ – ROCHELLE SIEMIENOWICZ