Winner, Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book (South-East Asia/Pacific Region) Winner, Dobbie Literary Award for a First Published Woman Writer Winner, Queensland Premier's Literary Award - Best Emerging Author The Anatomy of Wings is a touching and funny novel by a fast-emerging Australian author who is catching the eye of awards judges around the country and publishers internationally. US and UK rights to this novel were snapped up for significant deals prior to Australian publication. Ten-year-old Jennifer Day lives in a small mining town full of secrets. Trying to make sense of the sudden death of her teenage sister Beth, she looks to the adult world around her for answers. As she recounts the final months of Beth's life, Jennifer sifts through the lies and the truth, but what she finds are mysteries, miracles and more questions. Was Beth's death an accident? Why couldn't Jennifer - or anyone else - save her? Through Jennifer's eyes, we see one girl's failure to cross the threshold into adulthood and her family slowly falling apart. In this award-winning novel, Karen Foxlee captures perfectly the essence of growing up in a small town and the complexities and absurdities of family life.
Foxlee's debut novel (published in Australia in 2007) seeks answers to a sister's meaningless downfall and death on the cusp of adulthood. Narrated by an adult Jenny channeling her ten-year-old self, the novel arcs from her older sister's funeral back through the preceding year in their small Australian mining town and ends with the eventual, hope-filled beginnings of healing. Jenny's exploration is partially about Beth's life (sexual awakening, drinking, cigarettes) and partially her own search for her singing voice which has disappeared, clearly in response to the fracturing of her family. Whether Beth truly saw angels or thought sex would mend broken men remains unclear; Jenny's perspective means she fills in the blanks of her sister's life, as anyone must after a loss. Elegant, evocative writing set this apart from the rash of recent and forthcoming dead-sibling stories, but the young narrator, unfamiliar Australian terms and seemingly unnecessary recent-past setting (1983) will make this a hard sell to nearly any teen reader - although adult readers will rejoice in its elegiac beauty. (Historical fiction. 14 & up) (Kirkus Reviews)