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Bon and Lesley

288 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published September 2022
ISBN 9781922725257
Epub ISBN 9781922725523
Epdf ISBN 9781922725530

Bon and Lesley

Shaun Prescott

The powerful second novel from the author of The Town, which Jonathan Lethem describes as moving ‘with the gentle command…of Calvino, Kafka, and Abe’.

When a spreading fire in the mountains stops his train, Bon looks out the window and does what he’s always imagined he might – he gets off the train, and steps out of his life. In the desolate regional town of Newnes, he falls into the company of Steven and Jack Grady, two brothers, one garrulous, the other all but silent, both drawn like moths to the chaos of the coming days. When Lesley – an enigmatic fellow escapee from the city – arrives, they coalesce into a makeshift family unit, bound by a deep and strange attachment. They fall into a routine fuelled by cheap alcohol and fast food, reading shopping catalogues and seeking hidden paths in the forest, while trying to make sense of the darkness that seems to be encroaching on their lives.

Depicting a world of peculiar anarchies and regulations, of secret portals that lurk beneath the country’s failing design, Bon and Lesley is an urgent, surreal dispatch that asks where care persists in a country intimately familiar with catastrophe.

SHORTLISTED: University of Queensland Fiction Book Award 2023

When thrown out of your own story, how do you piece together relationships, family, place? In  Bon and Lesley, the mundane, the unreal, the frayed edges of memory provide the threads of insensibility grasped by those who find themselves in the food-court ridden town of Newnes. The dystopian Bon and Lesley is a surreal, wry satire.Queensland Literary Awards, judges’ comments

Haunting and brilliant…it’s worth emphasising that the book is also curiously but consistently funny, and that its prose is brilliantly attuned to the humdrum ironies and commonplace daydreams of the novel’s characters.
Sydney Morning Herald

Empty streets, highway petrol stations and deserted shopping centres complement surreal scenes of suffocating darkness, hulking monsters and mysterious tunnels, making for a disarming yet beautiful and profound novel that locates itself in the tradition of speculative, postmodern writers from Kobo Abe to László Krasznahorkai, with a distinctly Australian sensibility recalling Gerald Murnane and Wayne Macauley.

Bon and Lesley has shown that [Prescott] had more left to uncover in Australia’s regions. It holds complex characters and searing insights, using the atmosphere and language he established in The Town to break into new, rich territory.

Prescott is a skilled conveyer of ostranenie – the effect of estranging the familiar…[Bon and Lesley] discovers its true joys in its textured atmospherics, the compulsion of disorientation and the allure of the uncanny.
Saturday Paper

Prescott’s writing is seductive in its originality; and yet, at the same time, it embodies the same sort of preoccupation and sensibility that informs the work of Gerald Murnane, David Ireland or Andrew McGahan.
The Guardian

Bon and Lesley is a strange, probing narrative that rejects convention and reflects a distinctive sense of contemporary malaise. The novel confirms Prescott as an exciting purveyor of the surreal and the absurd.Australian Book Review

Special Offer

Buy Shaun Prescott’s two novels – The Town and Bon and Lesley – at a reduced price. This special offer is available for a limited time.

About the Author

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is a writer based in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. His debut novel The Town was published in Australia, the UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and Spain.

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A disarming yet beautiful and profound novel.


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Shaun Prescott: a note on Bon and Lesley

‘Unlike other fictions I’ve worked on in my adult life, I felt like I had to see this through to completion, that I could not write anything else until it was out of my way. Now that it’s finished, I feel like I’ve been evicted from a cold but nevertheless sheltering home.’

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