What Remains

ABC book reviewer, Clare Calvet, lists 'What Remains' as one of her 'FAVOURITE MUST READS' for 2012!

Sometimes only a work of fiction can reveal the truth...

'Before you fall in love, or find a dear friend, you should know: this is the day I will meet someone whose memory will touch my heart and change my world forever. I believe the ability to do this is buried deep within each of us, and if we could find it we could imprint on our minds what the world looked like before so we could take the full measure of what remains.'

What Remains follows the tumultuous life of journalist Kate Price from her first assignment as a naive and idealistic young correspondent in Riyadh in 1991, to Baghdad in 2004, where she can't feel anything unless it cuts her to the bone. We track her through the war zones of the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine, South Africa, Bosnia, Rwanda, Chechnya and Iraq, through harrowing scenes of violence and destruction as she pays the price of bearing witness to unspeakable calamity and cruelty. Yet in the face of that horror, where friendship can be life's currency and love is often fleeting, comfort can be found in the smallest and most tender moments.

On her very first trip into a war zone, Kate meets legendary photographer Pete McDermott, and it is their journey together that lights up the pages of this remarkable novel. From a cynical beginning to grudging respect to something much more precious, their meetings and growing attraction frame the danger and terror of their working lives.

In a world that no longer makes sense, Kate begins to question everything she has ever believed in. The answers, when they come, will finally show her the way - but they cannot protect her from what she both longs for and fears.

What Remains is an epic story of love, war, friendship and ultimately of hope: gripping, confronting and unbearably heartbreaking. It will stay with you forever.

quotes about the book

"This is a love story, but it rips into your guts with the awful truth of the horror of war and the heartbreaking heroism of ordinary people. Fantastic read."

Susan Duncan former radio, newspaper and magazine journalist and author of several books including "Salvation Creek"

"Modern warfare and the lives of the correspondents who report it are portrayed with unflinching authenticity. This book is unforgettable.'"

Inside Indonesia Rosie Scott internationally published author, academic and social justice advocate. Her numerous novels include Faith Singer and Glory Days.

"With its grand range and intense spirit of inquiry, What Remains brings us close to the worst atrocities of our times, and to those who document such inhumanity on our behalf. For the journalist at the centre, love and hope are as real as anger and despair. In this exceptional novel the reader becomes a witness to what it feels like to bear witness at the extremes of experience."

Nicholas Jose internationally published author of a number of works of fiction, including Original Face. He has held the Chair of Australian Literature at Oxford University and the Chair of Creative Writing at Adelaide University.

"This emotionally revealing, politically astute and beautifully crafted story unmasks the lives of those who tell us about conflict and the lives of those who become its victims."

Stuart Rees AM author and the Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation and Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney

"The book took hold of me with its majestic pace, from the first page...  Sudden and timely modulations of register, done with the assuredness of a master story-teller...Without a doubt, What Remains is a substantial book heralding a new, original author."

Paolo Totaro AM has worked as a journalist and has served as a director of the Community Arts Board of the Australia Council and Foundation Chairman Ethnic Affairs Commission.

"I read this in one weekend, lost a lot of sleep as I could not put it down."

Jackie Aitken, Allen & Unwin WA account manager

"What Remains is about the eternal themes of love and war, the most intense and contemporaneous versions of both. What Remains approaches what happens to love in extreme situations, among unusual people. Is there some other alternative 'way to love' we might not have thought of? Read What Remains and find out."

Lucina Kathmann, novelist, short story writer, journalist, and essayist in Spanish and English. Former Vice President of PEN International and Chair of PEN International Women Writers Committee.

"Vivid and heartrending, a novel as memoir of a journalist needing love to weigh against her horror and dismay at massacre and genocide by a writer who closely understands frontline reporting."

John Bryson Chairman of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. Author of biography, non-fiction and fiction, including the best selling "Evil Angels".

"What an achievement this novel is.  A thrilling, heart-breaking story of love and friendship, war and danger, loss and destruction, it is entirely engrossing, intelligent, thought-provoking and at times confronting."

Catherine Milne

"Gut-wrenching, disturbing, beautifully written and memorable. A very personal journey through life and work, a coming to terms with oneself and ultimately what matters most."

Diana Donovan

"…such a beautiful, engaging, at times both funny & devastating, UNPUTDOWNABLE read….As I got closer to the end of 'What Remains' I wanted to ration the pages to make it last."

Cheryl Martin, Beaumaris Books, Melbourne

"I was moved to tears. What a profound book, something that everyone should read."

Monique Oosterhof, Dutch agent