The Stranding, The Lightkeepers’ Wife and The Grass Castle

Canberra writer Karen Viggers’ three novels are essential reading. Karen writes beautifully both from a stylistic point of view and within the art of story weaving. Each of these books takes the reader through an intricate web of time, place and character, finally neatly looping together the laces without leaving us with a sense of things being too resolved.

These books are deeply rooted in Australian place – Tasmania, Antarctica, the South Coast, the Canberra region – and speak of the writer’s regard for the land and its histories. Karen is a vet by training and this knowledge also shows through her sensitive treatment of wildlife and environment issues. I read the books in reverse order of publication but see a strong thread running through the work. Worth noting also is that Karen’s books have become fabulously successful with French readers. The Lightkeeper’s Wife has sold more than 400,000 in France.

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