In the summer of 1976 it's picking season on an Australian stone-fruit orchard run by Celia, a hardworking woman in her early 40s. Years ago, when her husband was killed as a bystander in an armed robbery, Celia left the city and brought her newborn daughter, Zoe, to this farm for a secure life. Now 16, Zoe is a passionate, intelligent girl, chafing against her mother's protectiveness, yearning to find intensity and a bit of danger.
Barging into this world as itinerant fruit pickers come a desperate brother and sister from Sydney. The hard-bitten Sheena has kidnapped her wild, ebullient 18-year-old brother, Kieran, and dragged him out west, away from trouble in the city. Kieran and Zoe are drawn to each other the instant they meet, sparking excitement, worry, lust, trouble....
How do we protect people we love? How do we bear watching them go out into the perilous world with no guarantee of safety or happiness? What bargains do people make with darkness in order to survive? From the creator of Offspring and author of Useful, The Whole Bright Year is a gripping, wry and tender novel about how holding on too tightly can cost us what we love.