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Hold Your Fire

Read by Chloe Wilson
LIST PRICE: AU$ 28.99
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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

First published in Granta Magazine, 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 story is transfixing. 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 jumps. 

Interspersed with these transfixing tales 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 comfortable moral certainties. 

Hold Your Fire exposes the battles we wage beneath the surface.
 

‘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

Photograph © Chloe Wilson

Chloe Wilson’s work has appeared in Best Australian PoemsAward Winning Australian WritingELLE AustraliaThe Big Issue, The Southampton ReviewAustralian Poetry JournalAustralian Book ReviewReview of Australian FictionCorditeIslandThe Sleepers AlmanacMeanjin and Chicago Literati, among others. Her stories have been shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and ‘Tongue-Tied’ won the 2019 Iowa Review Fiction Prize, judged by Rebecca Makkai. She is also the author of 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 poem “Soft Serve” recently won the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Chloe is a former Voiceworks Poetry Editor and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, where she currently lives.

Photograph © Chloe Wilson

Chloe Wilson’s work has appeared in Best Australian PoemsAward Winning Australian WritingELLE AustraliaThe Big Issue, The Southampton ReviewAustralian Poetry JournalAustralian Book ReviewReview of Australian FictionCorditeIslandThe Sleepers AlmanacMeanjin and Chicago Literati, among others. Her stories have been shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and ‘Tongue-Tied’ won the 2019 Iowa Review Fiction Prize, judged by Rebecca Makkai. She is also the author of 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 poem “Soft Serve” recently won the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Chloe is a former Voiceworks Poetry Editor and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, where she currently lives.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (March 3, 2021)
  • Runtime: 7 hours and 37 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781760857745

‘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

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