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Dark and dangerous, brilliantly unsettling and chillingly funny, this extraordinary debut shows us what we usually deny – the uneasy truce we make with our ruthless desires and gothic fears, and how easily it can be broken. Prize-winning author Chloe Wilson’s stories will pin you to the page.

‘Chilling, funny, and razor sharp – a writer in control every step of the way. How I relished this extraordinary and original collection.’ Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin winner for The Eye of the Sheep

The debut of an unforgettable new voice in Australian fiction, Hold Your Fire exposes the battles we wage beneath the surface.

The title story takes us into the cold war of a contemporary family: a missile-making mother doubts her husband’s guts and the steel of her son, until a playground incident escalates and brings them into the most surprising of alliances.

Needle-sharp, effortlessly surprising and beautifully controlled, every tale will pin you to the page. A young
couple move into a house in which there’s been a recent murder, and fall under the spell of their peculiar, commanding neighbours. Two sisters are determined to detoxify themselves into perfection. A diver pushes herself and those around her to higher and higher leaps. Interspersed with these are lightning strikes of
flash fiction: we glimpse a leopard in the apartment next door; plants grown out of a strange and miraculous soil;
the spirit of a girl who’s been thrown down a well.

At each turn, Chloe Wilson offers a unique insight, a tear in the veil of our moral certainties. Her stories strip away the varnish of our decency to reveal the raw mechanics beneath.

‘Chloe Wilson’s stories are spooky, profound, thrilling, hilarious and unbelievably beautiful. She shows us things we don’t dare see — desire and power, love and subterranean violence — with such mastery that the sheer beauty of them blows you away. I want to read everything she’s ever written, everything she’ll ever write. A truly extraordinary writer.’ Anna Funder, author of Miles-Franklin winning All That I Am and Stasiland

‘The stories in Chloe Wilson’s Hold Your Fire are full of wit, intelligence, savage humour, and dark surprises. They combine the brilliant menace of Ottessa Mossfegh with the insight and control of Helen Garner; the result is a new Australian writer who made me feel less like a reader and more like a conspirator. I was transfixed.’ Fiona McFarlane, author of Miles Franklin-shortlisted The Night Guest and The High Places

‘These stories are wonderfully strange, complex yet funny; they are otherworldly and unearthly but at the same time an expression of how we live in the world right now. Chloe Wilson is the magician who by her art brings to light all we usually prefer to keep hidden.’ Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals and In the Garden of the Fugitives

'Incisive and darkly funny' Books & Publishing

'***** ... marks the arrival of a new powerhouse in Australian short fiction' The AU Review

Photograph © Chloe Wilson

Chloe Wilson is the author of the short story collection Hold Your Fire and two poetry collections, The Mermaid Problem and Not Fox Nor Axe, which was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Iowa Review, Best Australian PoemsMeanjin, ELLE AustraliaThe Big Issue, and Australian Book Review, among others. Her stories have won the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Chloe is a former Voiceworks Poetry Editor and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (March 3, 2021)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781760857721

‘Chilling, funny, and razor sharp – a writer in control every step of the way. How I relished this extraordinary and original collection.’

– Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin winner for The Eye of the Sheep

‘The stories in Chloe Wilson’s Hold Your Fire are full of wit, intelligence, savage humour, and dark surprises. They combine the brilliant menace of Ottessa Mossfegh with the insight and control of Helen Garner; the result is a new Australian writer who made me feel less like a reader and more like a conspirator. I was transfixed.’ 

– Fiona McFarlane, author of Miles Franklin-shortlisted The Night Guest and The High Places

‘[‘Tongue-Tied’] had me uncomfortably pinned by the end of the first paragraph, and squirming by the end of the first page … add to that delicate balance an unusual point of view, two loaded relationships, and a sharp, subtle dose of humour, and I had to pick this story.’

– Rebecca Makkai, in choosing ‘Tongue-Tied’ to win the Iowa Review Prize

‘These stories are wonderfully strange, complex yet funny; they are otherworldly and unearthly but at the same time an expression of how we live in the world right now. Chloe Wilson is the magician who by her art brings to light all we usually prefer to keep hidden.’ 

– Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals and In the Garden of the Fugitives

‘An astonishing collection. Astoundingly good. Suspiciously good, frankly, no debut should be this accomplished. These stories showcase a polymath’s mind and a poet’s sensibility in perfect, paranoid microcosms of our uneasy reality. Chloe Wilson writes with the surreal playfulness of Etgar Keret, the biting satire of Vladimir Nabokov, the delicious paranoia of Patricia Highsmith and the heart of Alice Munro. Tremendous.‘

– Liam Pieper, author of Sweetness and Light and The Toymaker

‘Chloe Wilson’s stories are spooky, profound, thrilling, hilarious and unbelievably beautiful. She shows us things we don’t dare see — desire and power, love and subterranean violence — with such mastery that the sheer beauty of them blows you away. I want to read everything she’s ever written, everything she’ll ever write. A truly extraordinary writer.’

– Anna Funder, author of Miles-Franklin winning All That I Am and Stasiland

Hold Your Fire brims with wicked humour and dark truths on the human psyche. Chloe Wilson's writing is spare, sophisticated and totally assured - it’s hard to believe this is a debut collection. These stories are extraordinary.’

– Rebecca Starford, author of Bad Behaviour and The Imitator

More books from this author: Chloe Wilson

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