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Unsheltered

Published by Simon & Schuster Australia
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

As the resourceful, relentless Li tracks her lost daughter across a disintegrating country, the journey will test the limits of her trust, her hope and her love. Unsheltered will leave you wrung out and gasping.

Relentlessly propulsive and profoundly moving, Unsheltered taps into some of our worst fears and most implacable motivations, marking the emergence of a fully-formed and urgent literary voice.

Against a background of social breakdown and destructive weather, Unsheltered tells the story of a woman’s search for her daughter. Li never wanted to bring a child into a world like this but now that eight-year-old Matti is missing, she will stop at nothing to find her.

As she crosses the great barren country alone and on foot, living on what she can find and fuelled by visions of her daughter just out of sight ahead, Li will have every instinct tested. She knows the odds against her: an uncompromising landscape, an indifferent system, time running out, and the risks of any encounters on the road. But the greatest obstacles of all might be her own uncertainty and the ghosts of her past. Because even if she finds her, how can she hope to shield Matti from what is to come?

At times tender, at times terrifying, Unsheltered is an engrossing, unpredictable novel that keeps the reader in suspense all the way to the end. A brilliant feat of imagination that asks if our humanity is the only protection we have left, Unsheltered will affect you in ways a book hasn’t done in years.

'Unsheltered reads like a thriller, is utterly convincing in all its invention, and kept a hard hold of me from beginning to end.' Elizabeth Knox

'Li is an unforgettable character, whose scars are as compelling as her extraordinary resourcefulness - she powers an urgent, heart-stopping novel.' Emily Perkins

'Unsheltered is a fist-clenching, breath-holding, heart-accelerating reading experience. Clare Moleta writes with clarity and force, conjuring a terrifyingly real world of environmental desolation and bureaucratic mercilessness, but also, vitally, one in which empathy, love and hope stubbornly persist. In temperamentally tenacious and teeth-grittingly tough Li, Moleta has created a heroine who is utterly believable in both her ambivalence about becoming a parent and in her single-minded determination to keep that child safe.' Emily Maguire

‘Outstanding. One of those novels that takes you by the scruff of your neck and drops you straight in … You will grip this thread until your palms bleed.’ Debra Adelaide, Australian Book Review

‘A tour-de-force … superb.’ Julia Jackson, Readings

About The Author

Photograph © Stan Alley

Clare Moleta was raised on Whadjuk Noongar Country in Western Australia. Her fiction has been published in literary journals and broadcast on Radio New Zealand, and she has won awards for her travel writing. She has a Writing Diploma from RMIT University and an MA in Creative Writing from Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington. She now lives in Poneke | Wellington, Aotearoa, where she was born. Unsheltered is her first novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (May 5, 2021)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761100758

Raves and Reviews

‘Reads like a thriller, is utterly convincing in all its invention, and kept a hard hold of me from beginning to end.’ 

– Elizabeth Knox, author of The Vintner's Luck

‘Li is an unforgettable character, whose scars are as compelling as her extraordinary resourcefulness – she powers an urgent, heart-stopping novel.’ 

– Emily Perkins, author of Novel About My Wife

‘Unsheltered is a fist-clenching, breath-holding, heart-accelerating reading experience. Clare Moleta writes with clarity and force, conjuring a terrifyingly real world of environmental and bureaucratic mercilessness, but also, vitally, one in which empathy, love and hope stubbornly persist. In temperamentally tenacious and teeth-grittingly tough Li, Moleta has created a heroine who is utterly believable in both her ambivalence about becoming a parent and in her single-minded determination to keep that child safe.’

– Emily Maguire, author of An Isolated Incident

‘An absolute banger of a novel … beautiful and brutal … It’s a rare talent who can put both action and pathos on the page this well.’

– Sydney Morning Herald

‘A tour-de-force … superb …This is a sensational debut.’

– Readings Magazine

‘Outstanding. One of those novels that takes you by the scruff of your neck and drops you straight in … Li's ferocious devotion to finding her daughter provides a strangely optimistic thread ... You will grip this thread until your palms bleed.’

– Australian Book Review

'[An] assured, propulsive debut … which has the pace and momentum of a thriller and creates a world that feels both deeply authentic and productively enigmatic.’ 

– The West Australian

 'Remarkable … could well attain a cult-like fanbase and marks Moleta out as one of our most intriguing new literary talents.’              

– New Zealand Herald

‘This searing, dystopian tale … keeps the tension up from the very first page. Li’s hunt … is engrossing, as a horror story is – we can’t look away, even if we want to.’

– Waiheke Weekender

‘A book of our time, confronting us with our shared humanity ... a call to action.’

– Newtown Review of Books

‘I devoured Unsheltered in two bites, interrupted only by the sun setting. It was way too scary to read after dark.’

– Newsroom

‘Rich intelligence…adrenaline-pumping tension…I read the last pages with limbs pretzelled around each other in dread…and at the last paragraph found my jaw and my right arm ran cold with tingles.’

– Landfall Review

'It has a compulsive plot, a racing heart; it’s one of those novels you carry with you.'

– The Spinoff

 ‘Extraordinary ... Cancel everything and read this novel.’ 

– Kate Duignan, author of The New Ships

‘[An] amazing thriller, deeply moving, endlessly tense and thoroughly, deeply imagined. I’m in awe'

– Carl Shuker, author of A Mistake

‘Absolutely heart stopping, roaring with love, smashed me. What an incredible story.’

– Claire Mabey, Director of VERB Writers' Festival

'Unsheltered is freaking amazing’     

– Pip Adam, author of Nothing to See and The New Animals

‘Astonishing ... Moleta has fashioned one of the most compelling characters to emerge in recent local fiction’                

– New Zealand Herald

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