We. Are. Family.
ABC broadcaster and Outer Sanctum podcaster alicia sometimes interviews me about We. Are. Family.
My novel We. Are. Family. was published by MidnightSun Publishing in September 2016. Three generations are forced to confront the pervasive violence that hangs over them like a ghost, and the distances to which they have carried their family’s pain. Described as a sensitive and rugged episodic novel, We. Are. Family. ruminates on the damaging idea of Australian masculinity with tenderness and dry humour:
“Mitchell is a terse and observant writer, as alive to the particulars of Aussie idiom and experience as Tim Winton, but less showy . . . It’s hard to write about the thwarts and flaws of conventional masculinity without coming across as either too harsh or too sentimental. Mitchell succeeds in doing so.” – The Age.
“By moving forward and backward through time he shows the impervious nature of gendered stereotyping amid a dynamic Australian landscape . . . Mitchell asks us if it is possible to escape the subjectivity of our pasts, or do the male voices in our heads sentence us to a lifetime of judgment by their standards? Ultimately, We. Are. Family. might be read as a tale of redemption and hope.” – The Australian
“Paul Mitchell’s timely debut novel . . . is intriguingly organised to bring out the cyclic, inherited reach of damaging behaviour, moving easily and clearly to and fro between generations and setting the poetry of place and sensibility, of a kind of difficult love against the pain and ugliness it is concerned to expose.” – SA Times/Herald-Sun.
“Paul Mitchell’s debut novel is the rare book that seems to both invite every clichéd description of new Australian writing—visceral, lyrical, ‘ Wintonesque’—and somehow read as genuinely innovative. This is all the more impressive given Mitchell’s subject: a sprawling, dysfunctional family riven by the legacy of violence handed down from each generation, told almost entirely from the perspective of the clan’s male members . . . Mitchell’s control of the vignette-driven narrative is admirable . . . he succeeds in creating a domestic fiction that is at once panoramic and suffocating. It is in equal parts reminiscent of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap and Tim Winton’s The Turning.” – Books+Publishing magazine (four stars)
“We. Are. Family. is an unflinching and nuanced portrayal of Australian masculinity, mental illness and domestic violence, one that will resonate in an unsettling way with the upbringings of many Australians.” – Rochford Review
“We. Are. Family will bounce off the walls of your mind, demanding a response, demanding engagement, demanding, I think, something more than merely reading and basking in the warm inner glow of feeling ‘informed’.” – Patrick Allington, from the book’s Adelaide launch speech
“Stripped bare, Mitchell’s blokey characters must accept failure, longing and regret; a terrible admission, sure, but also a necessary one . . . reminiscent of the late US writer Flannery O’Connor, a staunch Catholic whose humanity shone through her stark and fiercely unsanitised stories.” – The War Cry
“Mitchell’s debut is a fine novel, cleverly structured and expertly wrought.” – Readings bookshop