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Dyschronia

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3.23  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  61 reviews
One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared. One among them has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years. Is she a prophet? Does she have a disorder that alters her perception of time? Or is she a gifted and compulsive liar?

Mills' novel takes contemporary issues of resource depleti
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Paperback, 354 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Picador
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Average rating 3.23  · 
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 ·  256 ratings  ·  61 reviews


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Collin
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
There are no zombies in the dystopian future of Dyschronia. No belligerent alien species hell bent on taking over the planet. No infectious virus that spreads with alarming speed across the globe, wiping out our race as the countries on the screens turn from blue to red. No, in the dystopian future of this novel, the instrument of our destruction is the sea, or lack of it. In the small coastal town of Clapstone, the sea has disappeared.

Sam is in class when she experiences her first intense, migr
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Deborah Ideiosepius
Dyschronia is a difficult novel to classify, character driven in a lot of ways with beautifully descriptive narrative it is full of strange self referential loops, some of which tie time into pretzels, others which wind the characters into strange shapes and experiences.

The setting is a small coastal town somewhere in Australia - the great Australian bight, one suspects - sometime in the not present. While in many ways consistent with 2018, there are subtle elements of dystopian future throughou
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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘How do we see what we can’t imagine ?’

One morning, the residents of Clapstone, a small Australian coastal town awake to find that the sea has disappeared. Thousands of sea creatures are left dead, and the stench is horrific.

‘Nothing like this has ever happened to us, not here on the uneventful instep of Australia, facing away from the world .’

One of the residents, Sam (short for Samandra) has been troubled by visions of this event for years. What does this mean – both for Sam and Clapstone? Is
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Laura
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, aus-fiction, fiction
A haunting, circular tale that loops between timelines in a small Australian town. Some beautiful writing centered on a strong sense of place.

The novel operates within three timelines: two of which are from Sam's POV, the third from the remaining townspeople's POV, the collective 'we' who narrate the post-disaster present. There is something Kafka-esque about their dealings with bureaucracy, machinations in which private corporations move in, holdings pass hands, town investors receive mysteriou
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Figgy
Review to come.

In the meantime: some sincerely beautiful and raw and dreamy and tangible writing here. It's not what you would call plot driven, but it doesn't exactly fall into character driven, either... it's somewhere in between.
The story takes places across three different times within the same small (fictional) Australian town.

The opening chapter is actually the start of one timeline, but 8+ years after the other timelines, and near the end we get to discover stuff from right back at the b
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Tundra
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
While speculative fiction is not my favourite genre the writing in this novel has really pushed me as a reader and created something thought provoking.
Reimagining the future using climate change and extinction needed something new and the disappearing sea provides this disturbing twist. As the town declines and the residents become increasingly desperate to find value in the place they call home a dark purpose is alluded to and unseen bureaucrats pull strings beyond their control.

The multiple p
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Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
Dyschronia is one of those books that you could read a dozen times, and still see something different on each go-round. You’ll come for the beautiful, lyrical writing, but you’ll stay for the complexity and intricacy of the world that Mills has built. It’s Australian speculative fiction, with echoes of Erin Brokovich and The Time Traveller’s Wife, told in a classic Greek chorus style, about a future that feels all too imminent.

My full review of Dyschronia can be found on Keeping Up With The Pen
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Jay-Dee Davis
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is terrifying and beautiful.

Terrifying because of just how close to home it feels. Set in an Australian coastal town, the sights, smells, and touches feel so familiar that the events depicted seem likely to happen 20 minutes away from my house.

Beautiful because of the writing. The author is clearly incredibly talented. The prose is consistent and well suited to the story.

It’s mostly driven by character rather than by plot, switching narrator and time period between chapters. This isn’
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Kimberley Starr
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the way this book is imagined. For instance, time doesn't just have speed, it has weight. A young child accepts that she seen things that NOW hasn't quite caught up with. Once surprise at its narrative world wore off in the second half of the novel, perhaps it could have moved more quickly to its conclusion.
Tien
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Baffled.

Hence my star rating of 2 probably doesn't worth much. I loved the cover and I was intrigued by the blurb, "One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared." I, therefore, expected some sort of post-apocalyptic sort of novel and while it was in a way 'post-apocalyptic', it wasn't... not really.

I struggled by the time shifts; I can't even tell you how many there were supposed to be... There were the future (in visions?), t
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Michael Livingston
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bleak and intriguing climate dystopia, about greed, small towns and the inevitable destruction of our environment that's coming at us while we all pretend it's not. I sometimes struggled to keep the three different threads of the story untangled in my brain, but loved some stylistic approaches (like the collective narration of sections from the town's perspective) and found the whole book very powerful.
Akvilina Cicėnaitė
*3,5

This book is beautifully written but it did not touch me as much as I thought it will. The pace for me was a bit slow, the ending too ambiguous. However, it carries an important message on the inevitable destruction of the environment, climate change, corporate scams, greed, and the future that may (or may not) have already arrived and I do recommend it as a poignant and thought-provoking climate dystopia. 
Sarah
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was provided to Farrago, the student magazine of the University of Melbourne as a media release by Picador, the review is also available on the website. Link provided below.

Lyrically Looming, Jennifer Mills’ Dyschronia.
Jennifer Mills: Dyschronia
Picador by Pan Macmillan Australia, 2018.
ISBN 9781760552206, pp. 357, $29.99

“Here’s a prediction: the future never turns out the way we think it will. Simple enough, but that’s not the end of it. The past isn’t what we thought it was either.
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Alison
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Devastating. a poetic and yearning critique of industry, capitalism, greed, and people's passive belief in life going on. Amazing split narrative between the collective and the individual, and the precarious and random movements of time in individual consciousness and the earth's life. A definite dose of climate change anxiety that I had to slow down reading in order to process. A tour de force.
Steph
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an intense book. It’s not what you’d call fun, and it’s not gripping in the sense of a fast-moving narrative full of cliffhangers. But it’s one I kept reading, mostly because the imagery is so unsettling that I wanted some resolution to prevent those rotting cuttlefish hanging in my mind, unable to dissipate because I didn’t know what would happen next.

The book jumps back and forth in time, focussing on the main character, Sam, and a second narrator whose name I’m not sure we find out. T
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Lisa
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first thing to say about Jennifer Mills’ fantastic new novel is that you should not be put off by its title. You don’t need to know what it means, you don’t need to worry about pronouncing it properly because even if you do get it right, the librarian or the shop assistant will probably look puzzled anyway. Best to write it down on a piece of paper!
(And no, it’s not the name of that blue creature on the front cover. That’s a type of cephalopod, better known to us as a cuttlefish, the interna
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Kim
Read 100 pages and while the great descriptive writing kept me going in parts, the plot and narrative are just too disjointed and the characters are too shallow for me.
I really liked the premise too, but it's handled very unconvincingly.
I think I'm too grounded in a Science and economics based education to swallow the many leaps in logic.
A great title but not one I'll race to pick up again.
I was looking forward to the only Sci-Fi on the MF long-list but really I can only say it's the weakest
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Jane
Jun 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was the most confusing sci-fi book I've ever read (well after 'Hull Zero Three' which was so confusing it was a DNF!). Who was the 'we' half the story was written in, what was 'the dome' that kept getting mentioned, why was more not made of the sea vanishing or did it not vanish? Sorry, it just jumped around in time (or in Sam's head?) too much for me to follow. Happy to finish it, though I was hoping for some great clarity at the end, which never came.
Brad Dunn
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I really love the idea of bleak, Australian fiction. It's both a reflection of the way a lot of people feel and an interesting way of speculating on what our future is likely to become. It is the genre of the future and I support anyone who writes for it. But, I see the perfect examples of this in Michel Faber. (and yes, I know Faber is not Australian). Faber paints the most vivid, bleak stories - but he nails the storytelling component. This is where Dyschronia let me down a little.

But a caveat
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Nat
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I really loved this at first but somewhere around the middle it became tedious and kind of pointless and what the hell is with that ending? I like an ambiguous ending as much as the next literature nerd, but after a tough second/third act, it wasn't the payoff the reader deserved.
Karen
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Bewildering, slow and unsatisfying.
Jennifer
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m not sure what to make of this book. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. But to say that I quite enjoyed it would also be inaccurate. I couldn’t figure out if it was compelling or nonsensical. The switching time frames didn’t bother me so much, the whole idea of time being nonlinear is a familiar one. But the consistent motifs throughout the story didn’t really offer enough meaning for me to hang my understanding on.

The book was very self-conscious in its telling. I understood all
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Luke Musto
Nov 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed by this book as it has a great premise that the author was unable to deliver upon. Mills' prose is effective and often evocative, however, the novel suffered from the choice of structure (or lack thereof) as the book and chapters lurched forward more as very loosely connected vignettes rather than with a plot that moved forward. The characterisation was very poor and ultimately I did not feel as if I learnt anything beyond the surface of its principal characters. Simila ...more
Linda in Utopia
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cover-beauty
Spottet this beautiful cover in an Hobart Bookshop, turned it around and the first sentence did electrify me straight away: "One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewehre in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared."
This book is strange, wonderous, alien and written with well chosen words. You can feel that the author "gave birth" to this book, that is must have been a long writing process. This is nothing you can just write down in 3 months. The characters are too compl
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Clare Rhoden
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and I'm still thinking about it. That's a sign that it has some important things to say, I think. There are also many phrases that I noted as worth re-reading, and adding to my list of cool things written by excellent authors.
The story in this novel is like a cracked mirror - there are shards of time and we don't always exactly know where or rather when we are - but every piece shines with reflections of reality that we almost recognise, but of course everything looks differen
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Jodie- Readthewriteact
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was sent to me by the publisher for my honest review.

Have you ever wondered how the world will end? Maybe, you stop and think about the impact we are having on the planet with our need for more, more, more? Dyschronia isn’t the answer to your questions, or is it?

Despite the stunning cover, this is not a pretty book. Well constructed story? Yes. Interesting characters? You bet. Happily ever after? Hells to the N.O. This is a tragic tale of a child (Sam) with exciting foresight, that rev
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Caren
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
If I'd rated this novel on my understanding of it, I'd have given it a much lower rating. To tell the truth, I found it utterly baffling. However, the writing, especially the description of landscape, was stunning and is responsible for my perseverance in reading it until its equally bewildering conclusion.

Mills connects her character's migraines and "hallucinations" to her ability to see into the future. What Samantha (Sam) sees is virtually the disappearance of the sea and the ending of the na
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Josephine Waite
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
OK maybe I read too much genre, but I struggled to finish this. It seemed to get more muddy and pretentious just as one might expect resolution and enlightenment. There are good things in it; character, evocation of small town life, and warnings about the future (part of the artist's job is as Disaster Preparation Officer), but I wanted more. I am not the kind of feminist reader that needs all her female characters to be strong, brave, beautiful and clever, but Sam is so sickly and feeble that I ...more
Jen
I picked this up because I liked the cover and really enjoyed it, even though it features time travel (of a sorts) which is not my favorite thing. It's post-apocalyptic (kind of), set in Australia, with a shifting timeline and point-of-view. Once the timelines of the points-of-view started merging, it was easier to follow - but the difficulty in following the timeline is part of the point. An interesting take on the future we're headed for if we don't curb global warming and resource exploitatio ...more
Rena Ong
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I like the way the author writes. I would like to read more of her work. I found this book rather confusing , i realise we are going to and fro in time but at times i couldn’t figure out the ‘now’ of when we were.
I read the entire story as it does draw you in. As a non Australian and a city dweller i was unable to understand why the main characters did not leave in the beginning.
So this may be a bias on my part. I liked the way she showed the interconnectedness of the earth/ time and consequen
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Jennifer Mills is the author of Dyschronia (Picador, 2018; shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Award for Literature and the 2019 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel), Gone (2011), The Diamond Anchor (2009), and a collection of short stories, The Rest is Weight (2012). In 2012 she was named a Best Young Australian Novelist by the Sydney Morning Herald and in 2014 she was awarded the B ...more

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