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Published: September 2016
From inside her Toorak mansion, Margaret, matriarch, widow of Edmund Rice O’Day of O’Day Funerals, secretly surveys her family in the garden. Everyone, including Margaret herself, is oblivious to the secrets that threaten to be uncovered by a visiting American relative who is determined to excavate the O’Day’s family history. How far will Margaret go in order to bury the truth?
Family Skeleton examines a family that has for generations been engaged in dark business. You can’t dig a grave without disturbing the smooth surface of the ground.
Deftly woven with elegant wit and with compassion, this dark comedy is about what you might unearth if you dig deep enough.
Praise for Family Skeleton:
A rich, delicious, suspenseful, witty, sinister, joyous confabulation.JAN OWEN
All the elements one expects in a Bird novel are there – a critical, unorthodox yet deep spirituality; an excavation of the institutions of patriarchy; a turbulent story with funny and outrageous characters.NICHOLAS BIRNS, EDITOR ANTIPODES JOURNAL
Family Skeleton maintains its energy and power of surprise literally to the last lines. This is one of Bird's most accomplished and enjoyable fictional escapades.PETER PIERCE, THE CANBERRA TIMES
Unfailingly imaginative.KYLIE MASON, NEWTOWN REVIEW OF BOOKS
Bird's voice is truly original.JUDGES REPORT, THE 2016 PATRICK WHITE AWARD