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About The Book

An epic, kaleidoscopic story of four women connected across time and place by an invisible thread and their determination to shape their own stories, from the acclaimed author of The Mother Fault.

Longlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2024

Sydney Morning Herald Best Reads of the Year for 2023

One of the lucky few with a job during the Depression, Peggy’s just starting out in life. She’s a bagging girl at the Angliss meatworks in Footscray, a place buzzing with life as well as death, where the gun slaughterman Jack has caught her eye – and she his.

How is her life connected to Hilda’s, almost a hundred years later, locked inside during a plague, or La’s, further on again, a singer working shifts in a warehouse as her eggs are frozen and her voice is used by AI bots? Let alone Maz, far removed in time, diving for remnants of a past that must be destroyed? Is it by the river that runs through their stories, eternal yet constantly changing – or by the mysterious Hummingbird Project, and the great question of whether the march of progress can ever be reversed?

Propulsive, tender and engrossing, this genre-bending novel is a feast for the heart as well as the mind and senses. For fans of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come and Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House, it confirms Mildenhall as one of the most ambitious and dynamic writers in the country.

'Kate Mildenhall is such an exciting writer to read … This generous, playful novel speaks to themes of climate change, survival and holding space for each other, as well as the enduring power of female friendship.' The Guardian

‘Spellbinding, genre-defying, and powerful in its vision of the future … The Hummingbird Effect is a devastating novel that exposes the ways the future is seeded in the past.’ Australian Book Review

About The Author

© Gemma Carr

Kate Mildenhall is a writer and teacher. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was named in Readings Top Ten Fiction Books of 2016 and her bestselling The Mother Fault was longlisted for the 2021 ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year and shortlisted for the 2020 Aurealis Awards. Kate teaches creative writing and co-hosts The First Time podcast – which features conversations with Australian writers – and is currently undertaking a PhD in creative practice at RMIT University. Kate lives in Hurstbridge on Wurundjeri lands, with her partner and two children. Kate’s third novel is The Hummingbird Effect.

Find out more about Kate at katemildenhall.com or connect via Twitter (@katemildenhall), Instagram (@kmildenhall) or Facebook (facebook.com/katemildenhallwriter).

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner Australia (August 2, 2023)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781760855284

Raves and Reviews

‘Kate Mildenhall has outrageous confidence in her sparkling narrative, in her capabilities. As she should. This is a profound conversation about all those things we put-off talking about, seen in the context of the past, the present and the future.’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘Spellbinding, genre-defying, and powerful in its vision of the future … The Hummingbird Effect is a devastating novel that exposes the ways the future is seeded in the past.’

Australian Book Review

'Kate Mildenhall is such an exciting writer to read … This generous, playful novel speaks to themes of climate change, survival and holding space for each other, as well as the enduring power of female friendship.'

The Guardian

'It's a blinder . . . I read it sideways and with clenched teeth.'

Helen Garner, author of Everywhere I Look

'I loved this book. It is urgent and questioning, concerned but ultimately hopeful. The writing remembers our past, honours our present and imagines our future. It is often sublime and sometimes astonishing. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know.'

Pip Williams, author of The Bookbinder of Jericho

'Kate Mildenhall orchestrates this shape-shifting novel with extraordinary flair. Her imaginative range is astonishing. The Hummingbird Effect is audacious fiction that engages wisely and tenderly with pressing concerns.'

Michelle de Kretser, author of Scary Monsters

The Hummingbird Effect is deeply grounded in place and character, and speaks to the interdependence of all living things. Mildenhall writes about these women and their relationships with empathy, wit, and ferocity. An exquisite, unforgettable read.

Grace Chan, author of Every Version of You

'Cormac McCarthy meets Geraldine Brooks, Peter Carey meets Elizabeth Gilbert, The Hummingbird Effect is an ambitious, defiant, electrifying juggernaut. Kate Mildenhall cements her status as a titan of Australian literature by raising the bar to dizzying heights. An incredible achievement. I didn’t want it to end.'

Chris Flynn, author of Mammoth

'The Hummingbird Effect is exceptional. Both highly creative and hugely readable, I loved it.'

Jane Harper, author of The Dry

'Such an astounding and accomplished novel. It was an absolute joy to read. Simply put, I loved it.'

Sarah Winman, author of Still Life

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