Author(s): Josephine Wilson
Professor Frederick Lothian, a retired engineer (a concrete expert), has quarantined himself in a place he hates: a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children, Caroline and Callum, are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life--he's a hoarder of modernist furniture--he seems determined to be miserable. Alone and with more than enough time to think, he reflects on the current state of his life and his past mistakes. In memory, Martha, Caroline, and Callum come to life--detailing a complicated and troubled family history. Logically, Fredrick knows that "for an engineer there was a bridge for every situation," but he has failed to understand his most complex emotional relationships or maintain the connections to those who loved him.
When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his spirited next-door neighbor Jan together, Frederick begins to realize the damage done by the accumulation of his lifetime's secrets and lies. At last, he has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.
*WINNER OF THE MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD 2017*
Peppered with clever observations, the writing is sharp and the interactions in Extinctions are complex, building a rewarding narrative about being lost but ultimately getting found. PORTIA LINDSAY, BOOKS+PUBLISHING