Thursday, 21 June 2018

Edition 31 – August September October


The Crying Place

By Lia Hills

‘The Crying Place is a brave and devastating novel of grief, place and belonging. I was swept up in Hills’ voice and by her storytelling skills right from the opening pages and I wasn’t released back into the world until I reached the end. Even then, the novel doesn’t let you go. Its grace, compassion and deep humanity make you see our country anew. This book is bracing and tough, kind and generous.’

– Christos Tsiolkas


‘An impressive novel of friendship and the haunting contradictions at the base of Australian society.’

– Alex Miller

A stunning novel that takes readers into the mysteries and truths that lie at the heart of Australia.

After years of travelling, Saul is trying to settle down.

But one night he receives the devastating news of the death of his oldest friend, Jed, recently returned from working in a remote Aboriginal community.

Saul’s discovery in Jed’s belongings of a photo of a woman convinces him that she may hold the answers to Jed’s fate.

So Saul takes off on a journey into the heart of the Australian desert to find the truth, setting in motion a powerful story about the landscapes that shape us and the ghosts that lay their claim.

The Crying Place was a recipient of a Creative Victoria grant in 2012 and Hills visited Alice Springs and environs on a number of occasions to research the novel, including volunteering in remote communities. She also began learning Pitjantjatjara and has written poetry in the language.

But the core of this story has been with Hills for a long time, ever since she arrived as a teenager in Tasmania from New Zealand in the early eighties and heard the words ‘we got rid of them.’ ‘I’ve remained haunted by the implied brutality of that phrase and the absence of an Indigenous presence,’ she says. ‘I knew one day that haunting would find its voice.’

Interestingly Hills recorded her first draft using Dragon software rather than writing it in order to get closer to traditional methods of storytelling. Bird noises and the wind rustling through trees were translated directly into words, each species with its own voice. Hills honoured these disruptions in her later drafts.

The Crying Place is a luminous novel about love, country and the varied ways in which we grieve. In its unflinching portrayal of the borderlands where cultures come together, and the past and the present overlap, it speaks of the places and moments that bind us, and the myths that draw us in. And, ultimately, the ways in which we find our way home.

Lia Hills is available for interview.

About the Aurthor

Lia Hills is a poet, novelist and translator. Her debut novel, The Beginner’s Guide to Living, was released to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Victorian, Queensland and Western Australian Premiers’ Literary Awards and the New Zealand Post Book Awards. It has been translated into several languages. Other works include her award-winning poetry collection the possibility of flight and her translation of Marie Darrieussecq’s acclaimed novel, Tom is Dead. She lives with her family in the hills outside Melbourne.

PUBLISHED: Wednesday 22 February 2017
IMPRINT: Allen & Unwin RRP: $29.99
EXTENT: 480 pp
CONTACT: Louise Cornegé T: 02 8425 0184 M: 0417 692 695 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About The Foothills

The Foothills magazine is truly appreciated by the local community. It covers business, community and tourisms news, events, local success stories and more. The site features electronic newsletters, feature stories, recipes, photographs and news, all from the Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey and Tecoma communities.

From the Editor

Welcome to the first of the digital editions of The Foothills community news. Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers that has put this edition together. Many are long term volunteers who you will have followed over several years and others are new writers inspired by the opportunities of the new digital edition.

We are keen to grow the Foothills with your contributions. If you have a club, a school or an interest that you’d like to tell us about each quarter then please contact me so we can arrange for your own column. We also welcome photos and quick news stories that we can use to update the Foothills between editions. Send those contributions and messages to

Thanks and happy reading.


The Foothills Editor