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The Magpie Wing

240 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published September 2021
ISBN 9781925818765

The Magpie Wing

Max Easton

LONGLISTED: Miles Franklin Literary Award 2022

Helen, Walt and Duncan are looking for ways to entertain themselves in the sprawl of Sydney’s western suburbs. Walt, scrappy and idealistic, wants to prove a point and turns to petty vandalism. His friend Duncan is committed to his fledgling football career, and seeks out sexual encounters in unfamiliar houses. Walt’s sister Helen, in search of something larger than herself, is forced by scandal to leave the family home. As they move into adulthood they gravitate to the dingy glamour of the inner-city suburbs, looking to escape their families’ complicated histories, and to find new identities, artistic, sexual and political.

The Magpie Wing is set on football fields, in sharehouses, at punk gigs, and in dilapidated and gentrifying pubs. Max Easton’s debut novel moves from the nineties to the present, and between the suburbs and the inner city, exploring how communities that appear worlds apart – underground music scenes, rugby league clubs, communist splinter groups – often share unexpected roots.

Here’s a 2000s coming-of-age novel for a certain kind of Sydney: a book about fleeing the nest in search of oneself only to find that you’ve abandoned it – then wanting it back.
Shaun Prescott

A unique voice speaking from the under-cultures and margins of neoliberal Sydney, articulating its conflicting desires and disaffections with wit, insight and heart.Briohny Doyle


About the Author

Max Easton

Max Easton is a writer from south-west Sydney. He is the creator of the underground music podcast Barely Human, and the arts journal Tempered. His writing has appeared in Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow and Mess+Noise. He has played in six Sydney punk bands, runs a DIY record label, and appeared in an under-seventeens development squad for the Western Suburbs Magpies in 2003. The Magpie Wing is his first novel.

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Max Easton’s The Magpie Wing is a moving portrait of a city and region undergoing enormous change, told through the perspectives of three unique, sympathetic and vulnerable characters.

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Related News

The Magpie Wing, a playlist

In The Magpie Wing, brother and sister Walt and Helen find a brief sense of belonging in the underground music communities of inner Sydney after fleeing the family home in the city’s southwestern suburbs: via the early internet, back issues of DIY punk zines and informal CD swapping networks. This playlist takes the bands named in the book as influences, and places them with Sydney bands the pair would have played with, supported, or watched.

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Max Easton: a note on The Magpie Wing

“I did intend for the heroes of this book to be equally as influenced by Tommy Raudonikis and the Western Suburbs Magpies as they were by Kathy Acker, The Dicks and Noam Choamsky: to have equal appreciation of the great sport of rugby league as they do the (ir-)relevant cultural artifacts of twenty-first century Sydney punk music, all while dreaming of related anti-capitalist pursuits.”

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