Louise Wallace


198mm x 129mm
Publication date:
11 April 2024

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Thea lives under a mountain – one that’s ready to blow.

A vet at a mid-sized rural practice, she has been called back during maternity leave and is coping – just – with the juggle of meetings, mealtimes, farm visits, her boss’s search for legal loopholes and the constant care of her much-loved children, Eli and Lucy.

But something is shifting in Thea – something is burning. Or is it that she is becoming aware, for the first time, of the bright, hot core at her centre?

Then comes an urgent call.

Ingeniously layered, Ash is a story about reckoning with one’s rage and finding marvels in the midst of chaos.

'I have not felt this seen by a book, ever. Ash worked through me like a drug: I will be going back again and again. The craft is exquisite, the comedy deeply satiating. What Louise Wallace has achieved in Ash is a monumental call to all the women who have been called good girls and bitches with the same breath. Ash simmers and smokes with honesty. It makes sparks fly.' —Claire Mabey

'Wallace’s ability to weave four narrative approaches in a way that produces something greater than the sum of its parts. . . . Wallace has achieved something particular and exciting in Ash.' —Pip Adam, Newsroom

'A rare and compelling honesty wriggles under the novel’s skin. Wallace tells Thea’s story with surgical economy. The cast are rendered alive by the lightest of brush strokes, the author choosing to notice what is most telling, selecting prose that scorches with wit. I cannot recall reading another text that so convincingly portrays the stream of micro-injustices that jab at the psyche of a working mother. Each incident presents an unseen injury, which combined spells a death by a thousand pinpricks.' —Anna Scaife, Kete Books

Louise Wallace is the author of four collections of poems, the latest of which is This Is a Story About Your Mother (2023). She is the founder and editor of Starling, an online journal publishing the work of young writers from Aotearoa, and the editor of Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems 2022. She is a recipient of the Biggs Prize for Poetry and a Robert Burns fellow. She grew up in Gisborne and lives in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Ash is her first novel.

Cover: Todd Atticus

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