Fall On Me
By Nigel Featherstone
Release: September 2011
148 pp. pbk
$24.95 + p&h
Lou Bard busies himself running a humble Launceston café, looking after his son Luke, and doing his best to bring a sense of normality to the old worker's cottage they rent with a series of housemates. But when Luke, an intelligent, provocative teenager, decides to risk all by making his body the focus of an art installation, Lou is forced to revisit the dark secrets of his past, question what it means to be a good father, and discover that there's more love in his life than he could ever have imagined.
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Winner 2012 ACT Writing and Publishing Award (Fiction)
‘A clever, poignant and engaging plot, and the pace is quietly and consistently held. Interest grows as the story and the relationship between the father and son unfold, polished and compelling. Carefully drawn and cannily observed characters, who develop in a plausible and appealing way. Judicious use is made of back-stories to define the characters; the reader never loses curiosity. This work is carefully and beautifully crafted, no showiness, no gratuitous sentiment, an example of skill and talent being put to outstanding use.’
− Judges’ report, 2012 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards (Fiction)
'The beautiful little city of Launceston is the setting for this well-crafted tale. Featherstone manages to pack into this short novel a lot of food for thought about art, love, and survival.’
− The Sydney Morning Herald
"Who would have thought that you could glimpse many of the things which matter most in life out of the windows of a Launceston coffee shop? Nigel Featherstone uses that aperture on life to lend substance, seriousness and a fair dose of poignancy to his novella Fall On Me. Featherstone tells an apparently simple story, in clear, quiet, unaffected language, understating all his effects, quietly moving on to establish each of his characters in turn, investing every one with some sweet, surprising depths. Along the way, he discerns and teases out something substantive to say about love within a family, the character of innocence, the meaning of pornography, silence as a loyal friend, and the contemporary ills still visited on creative talents by wowsers, sneaks, know-alls, do-gooders and no-hopers. Lou is a memorably subtle, nuanced creation. His surname may be ironic: Lou’s thoughts and words are distinctly, inimitably prosaic, but all the more credible for that. Featherstone ends up on a quite optimistic note, one which could be sung in an over-simplified form as 'all you need is love'."
− Mark Thomas, Canberra Times
"Fall on Me is a finely written, warm and tense unfolding of a close family drama, where the family in question—father, teenage son, and possible third person—create their closeness, indeed the very idea of the family itself, out of the elements that threaten to destroy them."
− Roger McDonald, Miles Franklin Award winner and author of When Colts Ran
'Life-affirming, and very tender. Lou and Luke are both amazing in their ability to rise above the underbelly surrounding them.'
− Denise Young, author of The Last Ride
‘In Fall On Me Featherstone is writing with terrific ease and fluency. He has two outstanding characters: Lou and Launceston – both attractive, complex, troubled, and engrossing.’
− John Clanchy, author of Her Father’s Daughter and the award-winning Vincenzo’s Garden.
‘Fall On Me centres on a family of two, father and son, who are faced with a crucial artistic and moral choice when Luke, the son, makes an art installation that could expose him, and his father, to public condemnation. Bravery of various kinds is one of the important themes in this fiction, along with family, the struggle to express one’s individuality, the consequences of stepping outside accepted social boundaries, and the grief that those who’ve suffered a great loss must learn to live with. These are easy characters to like and care about. Featherstone creates them with a fine sensitivity and a language that enables him to achieve an affecting engagement between the reader and those who people the world of the story.’
− Helen Barnes-Bulley, Varuna News
'A simple and touching tale well told.'
'Warm and generous, and it feels real. The end result is a story with heart.'
− Whispering Gums
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nigel Featherstone was born in Sydney in 1968. He is the author of over 40 published short stories with work appearing in 17 Australian literary journals, including Meanjin, Island and Overland. He has had two collections of short fiction published – Homelife (1999) and Joy (2000). His novel, Remnants, appeared in 2005. Nigel lives in Goulburn on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. For more information, visit www.opentopublic.com.au