West Girls - Laura Elizabeth Woollett

West Girls

By: Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Paperback | 1 August 2023

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RRP $32.99

$17.95

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'I chose the jagged rocks, the broken bones, the spattered brains. I chose beauty. I'd choose it again.'

Luna Lewis is white. But her friends aren't, nor are her brothers, nor her one-time Princess of Indonesia-finalist stepmother. After transforming from pudgy preteen to 'exotic' beauty, Luna reinvents herself as 'Luna Lu' and takes her ticket out of the most isolated city on earth. However, as her international modelling career approaches its expiry date, Luna must grapple with what she's sacrificed - and who she's become - in her mission to conquer the world.

Featuring an intersecting cast of glamour-hungry public schoolgirls, WAGs, mining heiresses, backpacker-barmaids, and cosmetic nurses, West Girls examines beauty, race, class divisions, and social mobility in Australia's richest state. It's also a devastating catalogue of the myriad, inventive ways in which women love and hurt one another.

About the Author

Laura Elizabeth Woollett is the author of a short story collection, The Love of a Bad Man (Scribe, 2016), and two novels, Beautiful Revolutionary (Scribe, 2018) and The Newcomer (Scribe, 2021). The Love of a Bad Man was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction and the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction. Beautiful Revolutionary was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction, the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, and the Kathleen Mitchell Award. Laura was the City of Melbourne's 2020 Boyd Garret writer-in-residence and a 2020-22 Marten Bequest scholar for prose.
Industry Reviews
'West Girls shows us a sordid, self-regarding, and shiny world of schoolgirls and supermodels, and in any other lesser writer's hands this would be straight parody, but Woollett's extraordinary talent is to make the "real" more grotesque than the satire, and to infuse every sentence with her poet's vision and every character with a true melancholy and flawed humanity.' -Alice Pung, author of One Hundred Days

'The beginning teases us with fast-paced, colourful snapshots of culturally diverse characters and scenes- mother-daughter adventures, unconventional family models, teen politics, and preoccupation with appearances. As we read further, however, the story gets more unsettling. West Girls dissects the idea of beauty - Indah, as the protagonist's stepmother's name suggests - at the intersection of power, privilege, and exploitation- who's exploiting and who's being exploited? Woollett takes the theme of 'becoming' to the darker side; whilst subverting assumptions of fixed identities, she poses uneasy questions around cultural appropriation, racially and sexually structured gaze under capitalism, and disciplined bodies.' -Intan Paramaditha, author of The Wandering and Apple and Knife

'What a talent! It's rare indeed to find a book this intelligent and this wickedly addictive. West Girls is dark as a mining magnate's soul, cackle-out-loud funny, and so smart it stings. Ah-mazing!' -Emily Bitto, author of Wild Abandon and The Strays

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