top of page


Review, interview, podcast

Review: The Sydney Morning Herald
Debuts can be dubious, but this one promises to launch a stellar career.
Review by Lucy Sussex


'Overall, this book is unusual both in setting and in characters. It illuminates an aspect of Australian life too often overlooked — with the exception of the Batavia story. Brugman writes with acuity and immense joie de vivre.'

Read the review here.

Review: The Guardian
An evocative escape to Australia’s Abrolhos Islands
Review by Susan Wyndham


'Set among a community of Finnish fishers in a little-known part of the country, Brugman’s debut is a sensuous blend of social history and imaginative fiction.'

Read the review here.

Review: The Bookshelf on ABC Radio National 
Reading our way to islands, monsters, balloons, snowscapes, heroes and more on The Bookshelf with Kate Evans, Cassie McCullagh

Reading Emily Brugman's The Islands, Vanessa Len's Only a Monster and Hélène Gaudy's A World With No Shore (translated by Stephanie Smee) with writers Michelle Law and Molly Murn.

Listen online here on the ABC Listen app



Review & Interview: Living Arts Canberra

The deep pleasure of reading this book lies both in its emotional complexity and the beauty of the author’s language. She tosses us through time but paints her scenes with such vividness that we never flounder. Whether it be the terror of childbirth without the necessary language, preparation or support or the windswept nakedness of Little Rat Island, we are thrust into place with almost filmic immediacy.

Read the review & listen here.


The saga of the Saari family told in this book delivers satisfying story-details of ‘new Australians’ making good, and making do, and making mistakes, but its great achievement is making us feel the magnetic effect of a tiny, windswept, wave-bashed island on people who thought that they could leave it behind.

Read the review here.

The Islands gives a deep insight into one of the many migrant populations that make up modern Australia. It shines a light on a little known but fascinating part of the country, the industry that supports it and the people who built that industry from scratch. And it successfully brings to life a group of characters who are likely to stay with readers long after they finish the last page.

Read the review here.

Hauntingly atmospheric and written with such a depth of feeling, The Islands was a magnificent read, one that I lingered over and relished from beginning to end.

Read the review here.

bottom of page