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The Mother Fault

LIST PRICE: AU$ 32.99
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Imagining a near future as terrifying as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead, a riveting tale of one woman taking on the world to save her own.

‘A triumph of a novel. Five stars. I loved it. Thrilling, confronting, page-turning and heartbreakingly poignant, The Mother Fault is a remarkable story.' Jane Harper, bestselling author of The Dry

You will not recognise me, she thinks, when I find you . . .

Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.

But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.

Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband – and a part of herself, long gone, that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.

From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.

‘Sublime . . . With its superb storytelling and capacity to spark reflection on the way we live, this timely, riveting, warning bell of a book can be confidently recommended.’ Books+Publishing

‘A shattering lightning bolt of a book.’ Karen Viggers, author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife

‘A clarion call, wrapped in vivid prose, inside a truly thrilling read’ Angela Savage, author of Mother of Pearl and Behind the Night Bazaar

‘Shook me to my core. I could not put it down’ Alice Robinson, author of Anchor Point and The Glad Shout

‘Mildenhall has imagined a world as terrifying and visionary as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead, with the pace of the best thrillers – and characters I’ll never forget’ J.P. Pomare, author of Call Me Evie and In the Clearing

‘With The Mother Fault Mildenhall has achieved that rare thing – a book that at once tackles the big issues and is an addictive page-turner.’ Melanie Cheng, author of Australia Day and Room for a Stranger

‘Compelling and deeply human. The Mother Fault is an urgent call from a future which is at once terrifying and familiar.' Kristina Olsson, award-winning author of Shell and Boy, Lost

‘Clever, political, pacy and exciting. The Mother Fault is pure diamond-edged propulsive power. Book of the year.’ Chris Flynn, author of Mammoth

‘An unvarnished, beautifully written, totally authentic tribute to the everyday badassery and bullshit of motherhood, to the ordinary extraordinariness of women. It’s also a fast-paced edge-of-your-seat, heart-in-your-mouth adventure with an ending worthy of a Homeland season finale.’ Anna Downes, author of The Safe Place

'A literary thriller that speaks precisely, devastatingly, to its time.' The Monthly

(c) Cat Black

Kate Mildenhall is a writer and teacher. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was named in Readings Top Ten Fiction Books of 2016 and longlisted for Best Debut Fiction in The Indie Book Awards 2017 and the 2017 Voss Literary Prize. Kate teaches creative writing to young writers and co-hosts The First Time, a podcast about the first time you publish a book. The Mother Fault is her second novel. Kate lives with her partner and two daughters in Hurstbridge, Victoria.

Find out more about Kate at katemildenhall.com or connect via Twitter Instagram or facebook.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (September 2, 2020)
  • Runtime: 9 hours and 38 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781760854492

‘From the first few pages, I knew I was going to be finishing The Mother Fault the same day I had started. Kate Mildenhall has imagined a world as terrifying and visionary as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead, with the pace of the best thrillers – and characters I’ll never forget. This is a novel of rare insight from a rising literary star.’ 

– J.P. Pomare, author of Call Me Evie and In the Clearing

The Mother Fault is a clarion call, wrapped in vivid prose, inside a truly thrilling read. Mildenhall has written a page-turner that also delivers on beautiful language, vivid characterisation and emotional complexity. It is a sensual delight. When I wasn’t gasping in suspense, I was sighing with pleasure at the dazzling prose. I felt so close to Mim, I wanted alternately to shout at her and cheer her on. A novel for our times.’

– Angela Savage, author of Mother of Pearl and Behind the Night Bazaar

‘In The Mother Fault, Kate Mildenhall has achieved that rare thing – a book that at once tackles the big issues and is an addictive page-turner. The near-future Mildenhall has created is not only believable but disturbingly familiar. At its heart is a timeless story of motherhood – an expert and moving portrayal of the lengths a mother will go to in order to save her family. A smart, confronting and compelling read.’

– Melanie Cheng, author of Australia Day and Room for a Stranger

‘Kate Mildenhall raises big questions in this riveting thriller about the moral reckoning that will be demanded of us by future generations for our actions and inaction. But at the heart of The Mother Fault is a deeply human tale, one that prevails against and rises above political agendas: the need to protect those we love. This is exactly the kind of story we need right now; one that observes with lacerating honesty what we risk becoming.’ 

– Sally Piper, author of The Geography of Friendship and Grace’s Table

The Mother Fault looks unflinchingly into a terrifyingly plausible future. I could barely catch my breath while reading . . . The Australia Mildenhall conjures is at once recognisable and destabilising, beautiful and horrific, taut and emotionally resonant. It shook me to my core. I could not put it down.’

– Alice Robinson, author of Anchor Point and The Glad Shout

‘A shattering lightning bolt of a book.’

– Karen Viggers, author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife

‘Compelling and deeply human. The Mother Fault is an urgent call from a future which is at once terrifying and familiar. The mother of the title — the gutsy, flawed, heroic Mim — is a triumph. She will stay with you long after you finish this compelling, visceral and very human story.’

– Kristina Olsson, award-winning author of Shell and Boy, Lost

‘Brilliant. A raw, urgent, white-knuckle ride through a world only a heartbeat away'

– James Bradley, author of Clade and Ghost Species

‘Clever, political, pacy and exciting. The Mother Fault is pure diamond-edged propulsive power. Book of the year.’

– Chris Flynn, author of Mammoth

‘Sublime . . . With its superb storytelling and capacity to spark reflection on the way we live, this timely, riveting, warning bell of a book can be confidently recommended.’

– Books+Publishing

‘This book is an epic journey, a hero’s quest, a great escape. A multi-faceted, ever-changing love story. A call to arms, a warning siren. It’s a love letter from a mother to her children, from a human being to her world, from a woman to herself. It’s an unvarnished, beautifully written, totally authentic tribute to the everyday badassery and bullshit of motherhood, to the ordinary extraordinariness of women. It’s also a fast-paced edge-of-your-seat, heart-in-your-mouth adventure with an ending worthy of a Homeland season finale. It made me think of The Glad Shout, The Road, Bird Box, Jason Bourne, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen … It’s absolutely SUPERB, I loved it, and you will too.'

– Anna Downes, author of The Safe Place

'A literary thriller that speaks precisely, devastatingly, to its time.' 

– The Monthly

‘A triumph of a novel. Five stars. I loved it. Thrilling, confronting, page-turning and heartbreakingly poignant, The Mother Fault is a remarkable story.'

– Jane Harper, bestselling author of The Dry

A stunning account of a possible future, The Mother Fault deserves every bit of the hype it has received in the lead up to its release.'

– The AU Review

‘Timely and thoughtful, intelligent and fast paced, this is a propulsive literary thriller that’s likely to appeal to fans of Margaret Atwood and Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things.’ 

– The Weekend West

'The true power of this novel is in its appalling plausibility. That, and the fact that it is impossible to put down.’ 

– Readings Monthly