Set on a rural property and highly evocative, In the Quiet is a striking debut.
Published in 2015 by Eliza Henry-Jones, who has a background in psychology and grief counselling, the book traverses complex emotional terrain with subtlety and depth. While it’s a story about an ordinary family – daughter Jessa, twin brothers Rafferty and Cameron, and husband Bass – there is nothing ordinary here.
Examining grief in all its varying forms, the writing is sophisticated and mature. The characters feel like real people, framed with angst, humour and warmth. Filled with poignant scenes, this is one of my favourite Australian debuts in recent years. Cate watches the seasons change as her husband and children learn to live without her, and I love this because it means the story is full of little moments, threads that weave together at the end. We get to know each of the characters intimately, sharing in their sorrows, but the book is never heavy or dark.
Not only a meditation on grief and loss, In the Quiet reflects on life, love and family. Surprisingly uplifting and heart-warming, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Katelin Farnsworth is a Melbourne based writer and reader. Her work has been published in SBS Voices, Overland, Award Winning Australian Writing, Aniko Journal, Mascara Literary Review, and others. Katelin was shortlisted for the Penguin Literary Prize 2020 and won a mentorship from the Australian Society of Authors in 2021.
This is part of a new series at Faber Writing Academy looking at what makes a great debut book. If you are interested in getting a start on your own debut novel, we will soon be launching Kickstart Your Novel: The Opening Chapter and Beyond, which will run 9 September – 11 November. Details and bookings are here.