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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  2,323 ratings  ·  522 reviews
In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose se
Kindle Edition, 168 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Tordotcom
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,323 ratings  ·  522 reviews

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chai ♡
The experience of reading this book is almost surreal. Flyaway has the quality of a dream that thins into wisps the moment you try to describe it. There’s a strange, almost drunken sense of unreality throughout, as if the world the author created would shift the moment you had your back turned. As if I might jolt awake at any second, lift my head, and find myself in a darkening room, alone, the book still left open on my chest. A part of my mind still thinks I imagined it, pages and spine and al ...more
Ummmm I think I'm in love.

The story is about Bettina (Tina), who goes searching for answers about what happened to her family. Along the way, we get stories within her story; although I wouldn't consider this a book of short stories as all of the shorter stories contribute to the plot.

Things I loved

It's an Australian setting, but it's not all dry heat, scorched earth, blokes and sheilas and roos and Mick and Shazza having a fag and a stubby etc. I freaking LOATHE those Aussie stereotypes so it w
Alix Harrow
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A dark family fairy tale steeped in monsters and magic. Australian folk-horror with a strong Shirley Jackson vibe. Prose that lurks and bites and snatches at your ankles.

It's so good, y'all.
luce (currently recovering from a hiatus)
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While Kathleen Jennings is an undeniably wonderful illustrator, I'm afraid that I wasn't particularly impressed by her novella. What first struck me as somewhat discordant in Flyaway was the prose itself. At times the writing was clunky and there were passages that seemed as if they were trying to echo someone else's style. The way Flyaway started was also incredibly reminiscent of my favourite novel by Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. While in
‘...somewhere between the Coral Sea and the Indian Ocean but on the way to nowhere’

Flyaway brings us gothic fairytales and folk horror set in familiar, dusty-but-tidy towns, hours from anywhere, surrounded by a vast sun-bleached landscape.

Nineteen-year-old Bettina, prim, skittish, ostracised by the insular town, is a Shirley Jackson heroine transplanted to the Australian bush. When she receives a scrawled note reading ‘YOU COWARD, TINK’ it becomes clear that Bettina has gaping holes in her
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeously written, in language that brings alive the deep mystery of the Australian landscape. This is a dark tale of family and community secrets, in which memory, rumour and folklore interweave as Bettina goes in search of her lost brothers. It's tricky, it's challenging, it's beautiful. The story will draw you right into a world where nothing is quite what it seems. Illustrated with Kathleen's own art work - she is equally talented as illustrator and writer. ...more
Amy Imogene Reads
Wow. Flawless.

My sincere apologies to the publisher for not getting to my digital arc in time—I’m here a year later with a physical copy. This was so amazing. I am doubly upset at missing out on promoting this book‘s release last year. Best believe I’ll be shouting about this book from the rooftops now—what a fantastic book!

Writing: ★★★★★
Plot/Pacing: ★★★★★
Sense of magic/myth: ★★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★★

Sometimes you read a book and it's like a switch is flipped. All of the sudden, you realize this is
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is upsetting in the way writing by Brooke Bolander and Cat Valente is upsetting: there's an effortless grace to the prose, an ease with which the writer jewels their descriptions, that feels like magic out of the reach of of the mundane. I'm endlessly stopping as I go to marvel over the writing, drink up the easy beauty of it. Like, 'a blue smell of rubber' is so goddamned evocative yet so spare, I want to eat my damn wrist.

Or this, goddamnit, 'the sky blue as breath, as enamel, or bea
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
We tend to associate dark fiction with “literal” darkness – with shadows, haunted houses, twilight apparitions and “things that go bump in the night”. Similarly, the “North”, with its long winter nights and its mythology of fairies, trolls and diverse monsters, seems more attuned to conventional supernatural fiction than the Southern Hemisphere.

But just as Ari Aster’s movie Midsommar showed us that there can be dark horror in the unending daylight of a Nordic summer, Kathleen Jennings’ beguiling
Holly (The GrimDragon)
“There aren’t any stories except the ones we bring with us,” Trish Aberdeen used to say, stamping into the long grass after school, as if she wanted it to be true (as if she didn’t keep thinking she’d seen wolves and tigers stalking her in the scrub). Gary Damson, who knew better, who suspected Trish knew better too, would hold his tongue.

Because even if she was right, something had to happen to all the stories no one wanted. Histories and memories that had been taken into the trees, beyond the
Brittany Smith
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
A solid three stars for me because it did eventually pick up.

Disclaimer: this book was SUPER confusing in the beginning. The very first chapter quite literally put me to sleep because it was entirely descriptions of a town. Nothing felt coherent at ALL in the beginning.

Personally not my favorite books to read in general.
I think the thing to keep in mind of what this book is actually about: small town in the middle of nowhere where creepy cryptid-esque creatures are afoot and the main character
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an hallucinatory fever dream of a fairy tale that kept me up past my bed time just so that I could finish.
this is one of those works that, while weak in execution, was so linguistically beautiful i know i’ll be returning to it in the future
Kali Napier
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly compelling. Dark and light. This Gothic fable that can only have been crafted from the blood-soaked dirt and rust and trees and sky and wire-fenced towns of Western Queensland. Jennings' prose is beguiling, making me want to linger over the words, take them in. I loved how the stories within stories were limned by older fairy tales that conjured reminiscences from my childhood: the gruesome, unsanitised Grimms. Highly recommended. And like the best fairy tales, will be read again and aga ...more
This book simply isn't grabbing my attention right now. I can probably attribute this more to all the turmoil going on right now rather than to the book itself. DNF. ...more
Magical writing perfect for a fairytale Australian gothic story.
The author relies much on our colonial settler past and the supernatural spirits of the old country, gives an English/Irish village folklore feel to the story. There's traces of Little Red riding hood lost in the forest and Briar Rose's thorny dense impenetrable thickets covering a school house, but those are only small parts of the overall story.
One I may go back and reread the prose is fabulous. An amazing debut.
"That triangle t
rachel ☾
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Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Written by Australian Kathleen Jennings, Flyaway is a novella full of stories within stories, delivered in a shroud of myth, legend, folklore and superstition that kept me guessing.

Our protagonist Bettina has a mysterious past and she's determined to find out what happened to her brothers - and herself - several years ago.

Set in outback Australia, the beautiful writing, evocative descriptions and imagery brought the once familiar landscape to life in a new and eerie light. The rural area was bot
Corey White
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A tale of small-town claustrophobia, family strife and secrets, and stories within stories, set against a backdrop of a uniquely Australian landscape so vivid you can smell the dust and eucalyptus.
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviews
Woooow! This has been a delightful read.
I love Kathleen Jennings's writing style.

The story is like a dark fairy tale, full of magic, mystery and darkness.
Once you start reading, it gets difficult to stop. You are already immersed in the story. You are now a part of the story, and, as well as the characters from Runagate, you cannot simply leave the town.

Another thing I really liked was the stories between chapters. You can see they are inspired by popular fairy tales.

The cover (this US version)
Fantastic atmosphere of creeping horror, only the slightest bit marred by being over-explained at the end.
Audra (ouija.reads)
A surreal blend of mystery and folklore, this lyrical novella is as tangled as the lantern-bush vines that creep and consume the town at the center of the story.

This is the kind of book where I couldn't fully grasp the plot, but I just let my senses take over and enjoyed the journey. It reminded me of Stephen Graham Jones or Karen Russell, that sort of ungraspable, slippery storytelling style that nevertheless pulls you in and holds you captive.

The chapters flip back and forth between Bettina a
Pan Macmillan Australia
Kathleen creates a sense of dread early on with staccato sentences and detailed descriptions. From there you get involved with the protagonist slowly breaking away from her mothers' constant strange comments and embarks on a search for her missing father and brothers with two people she knows but whose friendship is fraught with tensions of their own. There are references and allegories of classic fairytales littered throughout the story.

Kathleen deftly builds the sense of something not quite ri
Andy Weston
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I may scream at the Aussies for their cricketing exploits, but there currently is one thing they are doing well, their horror writing.
In particular two young women writers. Kaaron Warren's Into Bones like Oil which was one of my favourite novels of last year. And now this, another novella, and a debut also. Jennings's book may not be quite as good as Warren's, but I say that in a good way - its got weird elements that require some careful reading... Indeed, part of its strength is that it is so
Bettina, living a quiet life with her mother since the disappearance of the men in her family, begins to fill in the gaps in her memory about what happened to them and to the person she used to be. I like Australian gothic, its unique anxieties and atmosphere born of the tension between the bush and colonialist sensibilities and history; I love to see creatives approach the genre in increasingly refined and critical ways. But my appreciation of Flyaway is predominantly theoretical; I took a whil ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I listened to much of this story, and was:
-Confused, and not entirely sure what was going on, beyond understanding that main character Bettina’s father and brothers were missing, and no one in town knew what happened to them or where they went.
-Growing increasingly creeped out by Bettina’s mother, whose icily worded directives to control Bettina’s behaviour were cutting and oddly scary, even though nothing violent was ever expressed.
-Absolutely loving the writing.
-Absolutely loving al
Alan Baxter
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this. Lyrical and hypnotising, dark and weird, Australian Gothic for an Australia that never quite was and yet always will be. This book is a delight.
DNF at 35%. Too many build up, lack of excitement. They say this is an Aussie Gothic novel, but I am not feeling the gothic part. Nice cover, though.
Lynn Williams
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5/4 of 5 stars
My TL:DR Five Word Review : Fairytale-fuelled-small-town-creepiness
Flyaway is a book of family horror intertwined with fairytale elements told in an extravagant fashion and set in the searing heat of small town Australia. Similar to fairy tales, at the heart of Flyaway lurks a mystery, family secrets and a dark and sinister outcome that quite belies the flowery prose and beautifully illustrated cover.

In a nutshell, this started off rather s
Yogaa Lakshmi
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
First of all, the creepy cover design is awesome! Beautiful yet uncanny just like the story in this novella.

The novella follows Bettina (Tina) Scott, a nineteen year old woman who lives with her conservative, prim and manipulative mother. Three years after the inexplicable disappearance of her father and brothers, when she receives a note with 'YOU COWARD, TINK' sprawled on it, she sets on finding her long-lost-thought-to-be-dead brothers and to fill the gaping holes in her memory with the help
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Play Book Tag: (Fly the PBT Skies) Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings - 2 stars 1 10 Apr 04, 2021 05:42AM  

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Kathleen Jennings is an illustrator and writer based in Brisbane, Australia. As an illustrator, she has been shortlisted three times for the World Fantasy Awards, once for the Hugos, and once for the Locus Awards, as well as winning a number of Ditmars. As a writer, she has won two Ditmars and been shortlisted for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award and for several Aurealis Awards.

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