It’s March 1985 and Nicky Starling is turning eight, but it’s a sad day. Nicky’s grandmother Didie has just died. Almost worse—his father’s beloved football team has lost the first match of the season.
Nicky will miss Didie but he still has Rose, Didie’s nurse. He wishes he could love footy, but what he really loves are the tales of King Arthur and stories from Shakespeare that his mother reads to him and that he acts out in his bedroom. But these stories often end badly, an alarming fact for a boy whose family life is starting to fracture.Buy the book
‘Football, the plays of Shakespeare and Arthurian legends are all interwoven in this story. The author draws links between Nicky’s disintegrating family life, the antics on the footy field and the tales of yore…I liked reading about the exploits of the players, who these days appear on our screens as commentators. It was also very touching to see Frank, who seemed to care only for his beloved Hawks, step up and support the emotional needs of his children when things started to go wrong.’–Readings
‘Vivienne Kelly’s first novel Cooee was a coruscatingly clever black comedy on hubris and the hidden costs of getting your heart’s desire. Her second is a gentler but no less insightful interrogation of the things with which we console ourselves, creating meaning in humdrum lives.’–SA Weekend
‘Every so often a popular book comes along that’s so compelling in its storyline, so vivid in its execution, so skilful at bringing to life its characters, that it makes you want to cheer. So it is with Vivienne Kelly’s The Starlings, a racketing novel set in Melbourne in 1985.’–Peter CravenThe Australian Review, 15 April