Ashley's new novel, A Hundred Small Lessons, will be published in Australia in April 2017.
A Hundred Small Lessons
Allen & Unwin, April 2017
'... Ashley Hay explores the ways in which we inhabit spaces: building homes and filling them with our possessions, dreams, regrets, fears and secrets. I was deeply touched by this graceful novel, with its unflinching approach to reality and its gentle undercurrents of sadness, nostalgia and hope. It is a highly recommended read for fans of literary fiction and Hay’s own award-winning The Railwayman’s Wife.' —from the beautiful Books+Publishing five-star review by Paula Gruinseit.
'A Hundred Small Lessons holds powerful truths, simply told … There is no definitive moment; instead, ideas are layered, one small action at a time, until the whole is revealed. Only then can we see the intricacy of the story, in which the river’s flowing quality is present within each sentence, the moods and tides reflective of the transformative power of parenthood.' — Tessa Lunney, Australian Book Review
'With a lovely attention to the detail of things and feelings, Hay enlists our concern for her characters and an appreciation for the revealing echoes they call up in our own lives.' — Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser
'Hay renders the small details of an undramatic, decent life with tenderness that is touching and compelling… a measured piece of writing that works carefully to create pensive and evocative images of time and place and people.'—Katherine Gillespie, The Australian
'[Hay's] intelligent scrutiny of the human psyche gives depth to this neatly constructed, modest story.' — Louise Swinn, The Sydney Morning Herald
A lyrical novel of two mothers from different generations and how their lives converge in one hot, wet summer.
Luminous and deeply affecting, A Hundred Small Lessons is about the many small decisions – the invisible moments – that come to make a life. The intertwined lives of two women from different generations tell a rich and intimate story of how we feel what it is to be human, and how place can transform who we are. It takes account of what it means to be mother or daughter; father or son. It's a story of love, and of life.
When Elsie Gormley falls and is forced to leave her Brisbane home of sixty-two years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, with their new life - new house, new city, new baby. Lucy and her husband Ben are struggling to transform from adventurous lovers to new parents and seek to smooth the rough edges of their present with memories of their past as they try to discover their future selves.
In her nearby nursing home, Elsie revisits the span of her life - the moments she can't bear to let go; the haunts to which she might yet return. Her memories of marriage, motherhood, love and death are intertwined with her old house, whose rooms seem to breathe Elsie's secrets into Lucy.
Through one hot, wet Brisbane summer, seven lives - and two different slices of time - wind along with the flow of the river, as two families chart the ways in which we come, sudden and oblivious, into each other's stories, and the unexpected ripples that flow out from those chance encounters.
'A luminous evocation of ordinary lives and the city that shapes them.
Ashley Hay brings a pointillist eye to the daily miracles of love, of chance, of belonging.'
— KRIS OLSSON, author of Kibble prize-winner Boy, Lost
You can listen to Ashley talking with Cassie McCullagh about A Hundred Small Lessons for ABC RN Books & Arts here.
'Hay’s unique novel glides like a swan across limpid waters and only after you’ve turned the last page do you realise how deeply you’ve dived.'—Annabel Lawson, Country Style
'Ashley Hay creates a compelling story, charting what it is to be human.'—MiNDFOOD
" ... beautifully written by Ashley Hay ... [A Hundred Small Lessons is] not just about lives ending and beginning, but life in general. And this is a cliché I realise, but it’s a wonderfully heart-warming read. Poignant and surprisingly satisfying."
Read more from debbish.com here.
" ... I couldn't put the book down. I was desperate to find out what was to happen. I was personally scared for all the characters. So I stayed up until 12:30am and when I read that last page, I nearly cried of sadness yet joy. A Hundred Small Lessons was a wonderful read."
Read more from The Book Musketeer here.