Flyaway – Kathleen Jennings


In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles.

In these pages Jennings assures you that gothic delights, uncanny family horror, and strange, unsettling prose can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun.

Holly Black describes as “half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered and full of teeth.” Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.


I have been interested by this book since a long time, to start with the wonderful cover (made by the author themselves), then by the presentation (all that I liked!) and to finish the blurb, as I have loved many Holly Black’s books.

Hum. Flyaway is clearly for me a « hit or a miss » and, if I didn’t really disliked this story, I didn’t find much to get my teeth into.

What I rather liked  was the immersion in the characters’ world, even if I was disappointed by the lack of substance in their story, where much is hinted and nearly nothing is really explained. Coincidentally I was rereading at the same time two favourite books of mine, « We’re all completely fine » and « Harrisson Squared » by Daryl Gregory, and thought their stories infinitely superior, for very similar promises (or so I thought).

Then, I didn’t understand the necessity of such a long preamble for such a short story (short stories should be riveting in my opinion) especially as it seemed only there to expose the author’s style. If you think about skimming all the pretty sentences, there wouldn’t be much remaining of the story, which is always an irredeemable flaw for the reader I am. I’m not much of an admirer of stylistic effects, but you may make your own idea by reading the extracts below!


« She tried to ignore it, not to find a pattern, but there were -feelings. Impressions of violet shadows and chill golden sunlight, the twisting nets of liquid day through brown water, the scudding lights of high clouds at dawn, the blazing of stars in blue night and beneath all that, echoes of darkness like centuries in rocks, and the promise of the unknown behind bleak hills. »

« The stories of Inglewell, like the tellers, are hybrids of tales from distant woods and forests. I cannot believe our silky oaks, and ironbarks, the shimmering brigalow are less handsome than those fabled groves, but the stories (even those, like us, half-made here) fit them uneasily. »

(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

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