The Crying Room

The Crying Room movingly explores family boundaries and stories, finding original ways to express the contradictory experience of belonging to a family, and being an individual at the same time.

When Bernie and her husband move to Ballina in coastal NSW, Bernie Rodgers finds that there is more than a physical distance separating her from her adult daughters. Bernie loves her daughters, but the problem she realises is with the way she loved them.

Bernie’s daughter Susie is professionally successful, but her feelings remain distant, even to herself. When she takes on the responsibility for caring for her niece, the pieces of her life finally snap into place. The inexplicable disappearance of an aeroplane though, plunges her life into mystery once again.

Morally acute and dazzlingly accomplished, this is an affecting novel about loneliness, love, family and the need to feel.

The Crying Room will be published in July 2023 by Transit Lounge.

‘Deeply rewarding. Shirm dances with a light step across the delicate territory between laughing and weeping.’ Helen Garner

‘Deft, original and clever; this novel unfolds a drama of family distance, kindness and the surprising endurance of love.’ Gail Jones

‘Reminiscent of the work of Rachel Cusk and Maggie Nelson, The Crying Room a thrillingly speculative and wholly original novel in stories. Without doubt one of my books of the year.’ Tegan Bennett Daylight

Published by gretchenshirm

Sydney writer and critic. Author of Having Cried Wolf.

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