Jessie Cole’s first novel Darkness on the Edge of Town was published by 4th Estate in July 2012.
‘My dad, he collects broken things … Where other people see junk he sees potential … My dad collects broken people too.’
Vincent is nearly forty years old, with little to show for his life except his precious sixteen-year-old daughter, Gemma: sensitive, insightful and wise beyond her years.
When a stranger crashes her car outside Vincent and Gemma’s bush home, their lives take a drastic turn. In an effort to help the stranded woman, father and daughter are drawn into a world of unexpected and life-changing consequences.
Darkness on the Edge of Town is a haunting tale that beguiles the reader with its deceptively simple prose, its gripping and unrelenting tensions, and its disturbing yet tender observations.
To read a short extract from Jessie Cole’s debut novel Darkness on the Edge of Town click here.
To hear Jessie read, click here.
Darkness on the Edge of Town is also published by Actes Sud in France under the title Borderline
Actes Sud French Edition: Borderline
“One of the stand-out debuts of 2012.”
Katharine England, The Adelaide Advertiser
“Jessie Cole’s spellbinding first novel is the kind of book that you can describe with words such as ‘beautiful’, ‘touching’ and ‘tender’ as easily as you can with words like ‘uncomfortable’, ‘painful’ and ‘disturbing’ … I read it in nearly one sitting, and I found that hitting the last page was like popping out of a dream; I wondered what might happen to the characters beyond the bounds of the story. I can’t wait to see where this talented new voice takes us next.” 4 and 1/2 stars.
Meredith Lewin, Good Reading Magazine
“Jessie Cole’s debut novel Darkness on the Edge of Town is on another level of storytelling altogether … It’s exquisite writing. Graceful, revealing, pitch perfect. Cole is an author who pays sharp attention to the world around her. And she deserves to have the world pay her some attention in return.” To read this review click here.
Ed Wright, The Australian
“A sad and tender tale of the extraordinary events which make up the everyday lives of ordinary people, Darkness on the Edge of Town elegantly expresses the simplicity of emotions that we often find so hard to handle. Unflinching in her capacity to scrape at the raw nerves of our desperation for love, Jessie Cole has written a distinctly Australian story about hope, desire, sexuality, violence and our failure to communicate.”
Rob Minshull, ABC Radio Brisbane
“Jessie Cole writes with the most deceptively simple language. She pulls you into the story and along its threads until bam! She hits you right between the eyes. This is great storytelling. It’s tense, mean, compassionate and very real … The characters are so real it’s as if Cole sat in the pub and copied down everything everyone said. Every minute of reading this book was a joy.”
Meredith Jaffe, The Hoopla
“Cole is one of a number of younger female writers drawing our attention to lives lived on the margins … She focuses the writer’s eye on an Australia both familiar and hidden, creating stories that make some readers feel uncomfortable. But these are stories essential to our understanding of the Australian landscape and those who inhabit it, where tenderness and violence accompany each other in an eerie pact of necessity. While there is a necessary debate occurring in Australia around the value of literary prizes and who they go to, Jessie Cole has rewarded us instead with a novel that leaves us with much to think about.” To view this review click here.
Tony Birch, Overland Blog
“Cole’s writing is evocative in its simplicity, the characters’ dialogue – sometimes grimy – as honest and real as Australia can be … A gripping and heartbreaking read.”
Fiona Hardy, Readings
“An engaging and thoughtful novel.”
Eloise Keating, Bookseller & Publisher
“A gripping debut novel by NSW writer Cole about the reverberating effects of domestic violence, love, loss and the kindness of strangers, Darkness on the Edge of Town proves difficult to put down as it hurtles towards it confronting conclusion.” 4 stars.