A novel by Jamie Marina Lau
September 8, 2020 • 5 x 7.75 • 248 pages • 978-1-56689-594-1
Blending digital fever dream and hard-boiled noir in bursts of claustrophobic prose, Pink Mountain on Locust Island follows a teenager and her maybe-boyfriend into the seedy corners of the art world.
Fifteen-year-old Monk drifts through a monotonous existence in a grimy Chinatown apartment with her “grumpy brown couch” of a dad, until she meets high school senior Santa Coy (firstname.lastname@example.org). For a moment, it looks like he might be her boyfriend. But when Monk’s dad becomes obsessed with Santa Coy’s artwork, Monk finds herself shunted to the sidelines as her father and the object of her affections begin to hatch a scheme of their own. To keep up, Monk must navigate a combustible cocktail of odd assignments, peculiar places, and murky underworld connections.
In Jamie Marina Lau’s debut novel, shortlisted for Australia’s prestigious Stella Prize when she was nineteen years old, hazily surreal vignettes conjure a multifaceted world of philosophical angst and lackadaisical violence.
About the Author
Jamie Marina Lau is a twenty-three-year-old multidisciplinary writer and artist. Her debut novel Pink Mountain on Locust Island won the 2018 Melbourne Prize Readings Residency Award; was shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize, the 2019 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, and the Australia Literature Society Gold Medal. Her writing can also be found in various publications. She is currently in the process of writing her second novel, Gunk Baby; working on various projects; and producing music.
Praise for Pink Mountain on Locust Island
Shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 New South Wales Premier Literary Awards
Shortlisted for the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction
Shortlisted for the Australia Literature Society Gold Medal
“This novel is a strange peninsula of tender and splintered and waterlogged prose. I want to bottle it and put it on my mantle and dare every guest to take a sip.” —Hilary Leichter
“Bouncing with the violence of everyday banality, Pink Mountain on Locust Island understands how the malaise of youth can turn the humdrum into the magical. Not Magical Realism or anything like that, but the sparkle of each unoriginal moment. The way the lumped-upon-lumpness of life becomes a rhythm to set ones watch to and, within this predictable everydayness, build a fully and uniquely original alternate reality. Jaime Marina Lau has the poetic third eye and she walks between worlds. Weird AF, but in that good way.” —Nikki Darling
“Visceral, restless, and edgy, while soulful and contemplative of exactly what Asian American diasporas are going through right now (“Stop looking at me with those contaminated eyes”), Pink Mountain on Locust Island will grab you with its originality and vivid imagery, while reminding you to go back and read such classics as Dogeaters (Jessica Hagedorn) and Bone (Fae Myenne Ng) for the same sense of frenetic energy juxtaposed against the claustrophobia of class and tradition. I loved this book, read it in a day, could not put it down. Episodic, startling, young, this is a must read. The language is indeed elastic, and lovely.” —Chaya Buvaneswar
“[A] deliciously disjointed novel . . . [with] fizzingly short chapters and an ultra-contemporary plot that seems tailor-made to appeal to distracted digital natives.” —ELLE Australia
“This book is like nothing you have ever read before – a kaleidoscope of colours, smells and fragments of life observed by a teenager in a Chinatown somewhere in an unknown city. . . . Lau’s dizzying prose is like a series of crazy neon-lit performance art as she dissects, with extraordinary effervescence, Monk’s teenage angst, her struggles to fit in with her school friends, their parents, her father and her unhappily married sister.” —Stella Prize Citation