An electrifying story of fear and sacrifice, and what people will do to outrun the shadows.
Iraqi aspiring pianist Nasim falls from favour with Saddam Hussein and his psychopathic son, triggering a perilous search for safety. In Australia, decades later, Gerry is in fear of his tyrannical father, Toohey, who has returned from the Iraq War bearing the physical and psychological scars of conflict. Meanwhile, Robbie is dealing with her own father’s dementia when the past enters the present.
These characters’ worlds intertwine in a brilliant narrative of guilt and reckoning, trauma and survival. Crossing the frontiers of war, protest and reconciliation, Act of Grace is a meditation on inheritance: the damage that one generation passes on to the next, and the potential for transformation.
‘Act of Grace is bold, brilliant and breathtakingly humane. Anna Krien makes riveting the sweep of history and the lived price of war; at the same time she reveals, with great insight, the intimacies of daily love and tiny, splintering acts of violence in families. She is both wide-angle and close-up, and there is redemption in every line. Anna Krien is the real deal — a novelist for our times.’ —Anna Funder, author of All That I Am
‘Masterful — a far-reaching tapestry of a novel. Nuanced and whip-smart, this is a work of profound empathy — a book of and for our times. As Act of Grace unfolds with precise muscularity, Krien’s inhabitation of each character approaches the divine.’ —Peggy Frew, author of The Islands and Hope Farm
‘Act of Grace is a work of stunning virtuosity. Krien has taken a huge leap of creative faith, and from the very first page to the last I was ready to follow her anywhere.’ —Ceridwen Dovey, author of In the Garden of the Fugitives and Only the Animals
‘An ambitious and compelling study of trauma and how it’s transferred and inherited … a nuanced consideration of the different forms and ethics of activism.’ —Books+Publishing