Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 review
Confluence is a heart-wrenching page turner, full of suspense and tension, set on Australia's beautiful east coast. Weaving between the past and present, this gritty and raw contemporary Australian mystery is about time, memory, love, loss and intergenerational trauma, through the lens of one family’s tragedy. More
Available ebook formats: epub
About Gemma Chilton

Gemma Chilton is an Australian journalist and editor born in Sydney, NSW, and based in Huonville, Tasmania. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines including Australian Geographic, AG Adventure, 4X4 Australia and Tracks.

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Reviews of Confluence by Gemma Chilton

Marianne Vincent reviewed on Jan. 5, 2023

Confluence is the first novel by Australian author, Gemma Chilton. When Liam Murray’s mother lets him know that she’s facing surgery for breast cancer, he doesn’t really hesitate to throw in the job he wasn’t enjoying, abandon a casual (in his eyes) relationship with a married lover, quit his flat and head to his beachside hometown of Elanora.

It happens to be close to the nineteenth anniversary of the date his father went missing: John Murray’s boat was found burnt out, washed up on the beach, and most people eventually concluded he died accidentally on the water. Being back in his childhood home has Liam recalling incidents in the lead up to, and after his father’s disappearance from his life.

His presence in Elanora also elicits comments and reminiscences from people who knew his father, some of which are intriguing snippets he wants to know more about. An unexpected visit from his cousin also piques his curiosity. He does some online research and heads back to Sydney to tie up loose ends and find out more. But will he ever find out what happened to his Dad?

The first half of the story is exclusively told through Liam’s narrative in a split timeline; thereafter, his narrative is interspersed with that of several others, whose perspective fills in facts that Liam cannot know. There are echoes and parallels between the stories of several characters, and there is a certain intimate incident in the final chapters that may make readers uncomfortable but is integral to the fate of those who go missing.

Chilton easily evokes her era with popular cultural references, and her setting: her rich descriptive prose will strike a chord with anyone who has lived in or visited a coastal NSW town. Her characters are realistically drawn, flawed but well-intentioned. This is a tale that explores secrets and shame, grief and loss, family and friendship, and the unreliability of memory. Enclosed within a gorgeous cover, this is an impressive debut novel.
This unbiased review is from a copy provided by the author.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

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