by Julia Leigh
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It has been eight years since Australian writer Julia Leigh’s debut novel, The Hunter, was published in the US to warm reviews. The length of this interval makes the brevity of her second book, Disquiet (described as “a story” on its cover), all the more notable. Both works have fundamental similarities: dysfunctional families made brutal by trauma; remote, fablelike settings; and the theme of survival. But the hostilities of the wild in The Hunter have been replaced by the savagery of the domestic.
Disquiet at first has a slow-burning, foreboding atmosphere. It opens with Olivia and her two young children, Andrew and Lucy, forcing their way into the gardens of an isolated château in the French countryside. Having traveled from Australia to escape an abusive husband and father, they are greeted frostily by Olivia’s
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