Little Gods

By Jenny Ackland
Allen & Unwin


Jenny Ackland

Judges' report


Set in the 1980s in Mallee country in north-western Victoria, Jenny Ackland’s Little Gods is a ripping, sprawling family saga featuring an eccentric cast with an abundance of big secrets.

Precocious twelve-year-old Olive Lovelock is bound to become one of Australia’s great fictional protagonists, but this novel has a veritable array of radiant, strong characters. Olive’s aunt Thistle is a constant delight; she is an eccentric who produces plays for Olive and her cousins, and is sporadically blindsided by bouts of depression.

In a continuous series of memorable scenes, Ackland perfectly evokes a childhood both sublime and anguished, and the uncertainty of youth is exquisitely depicted throughout. The tale manages to be both dark and sweetly funny, and never stops being gently surprising. Ackland has much insight and empathy to impart about the way we live, and with Little Gods, her second novel, she has well and truly hit her stride.

Further reading


Reviews

‘…don’t let this quiet novel catch you unprepared: Little Gods might just crush your heart’ Michelle McLaren, Newtown Review of Books

‘Jenny Ackland’s second novel, Little Gods, couldn’t be mistaken for anything but an Australian book.’ Hilary Simmons, Books+Publishing

‘There is charm in the passing details of an Australian childhood recalled and in Olive there is a winning lead character, whom Ackland has been careful not to make too cute: in fact she has pulled off the risky trick of having Olive’s less tolerable qualities add to her appeal.’
Owen Richardson, Sydney Morning Herald