Loveland, by Robert Lukins, Melbourne book launch

8 March 2022

Loveland, by Robert Lukins, book cover

If you’re fast, you may still be able to score a (free) ticket to the launch of Melbourne based Australian writer Robert Lukins‘ second novel Loveland, tomorrow evening, Wednesday 9 March, at Readings Carlton, from 6:30PM.

Amid the ruins of a fire-ravaged amusement park and destroyed waterfront dwellings, one boarded-up building still stands. May has come from Australia to Loveland, Nebraska, to claim the house on the poisoned lake as part of her grandmother’s will. Escaping the control of her husband, will she find refuge or danger?

As she starts repairing the old house, May is drawn to discover more about her silent, emotionally distant grandmother and unravel the secrets that Casey had moved halfway around the world to keep hidden. How she and Casey’s lives interconnect, and the price they both must pay for their courage, is gradually revealed as this mesmerising and lyrical novel unfolds.

In an article in Good Weekend, published last Saturday, Lukins explains that seeing the bleak cover of the 1982 Bruce Springsteen album, Nebraska, as a ten-year old, partly inspired Loveland, which is set in the American state of the same name:

The cover of Nebraska, with that black-and-white photograph taken from the front seat of an old pick-up truck in deep winter. An empty highway is peeling away into an American horizon that was impossibly flat and infinitely distant. Snow is banked up on the truck’s hood and to me, a Sunshine Coast kid who lived permanently beneath fluoro board shorts and a stripe of zinc cream, this image was pure exoticism, pure mystery.

If this were Instagram, what would you call the filter on the cover of Loveland? Vintage? Retro? Whatever, I’ve added the novel to my to-be-read list.