This month, Giramondo publishes two new books – a darkly funny work of fiction by Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle, and a new poetry collection by Jane Gibian that considers the human relation to the delicate ecologies that surround us.

Marked by its absurdist humour, Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life describes the experience of being chronically ill and chronically unemployed in a ‘low-key hellish’ world. ‘When you don’t really feel like you have a future, or the sort of future that is available to you seems uncaring and undesirable, then you can get stuck in the past and nostalgia,’ writes Butcher-McGunnigle about her book.

‘Across the collection lies a gossamer web that stretches between people, places and the natural world, threads that are gathered and sustained over time,’ Gibian notes of Beneath the Tree Line. The book ‘recognises that humans need a habitable environment just like plants and animals, something we ignore at our peril.’

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Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life
By Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle

‘Butcher-McGunnigle is compulsively readable, hilarious, wonderful – a master of the whiplash turn, the dark plunge, and thrillingly, unapologetically negative energy.’
– Ashleigh Young

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About the bookIn Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life, an unnamed young woman in her late twenties navigates unemployment, boredom, chronic illness and online dating. Her activities are banal – applying for jobs, looking up horoscopes, managing depression, going on Tinder dates. She observes the ambiguities of social interactions, the absurd intimacies of sex and the indignity of everyday events, with a skepticism about the possibility of genuine emotion, or enlightenment. Like life, things are just unfolding, and sometimes, like life, they don’t actually get better. Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle’s novella-in-fragments blends artifice with sincerity, is darkly funny, and alive to the incongruous performance that constitutes getting by. Read Butcher-McGunnigle’s author note here.
About the authorZarah Butcher-McGunnigle is a writer from Auckland, New Zealand. She is the author of Autobiography of a Marguerite (Hue & Cry Press, 2014).
Beneath the Tree Line
By Jane Gibian

‘Sensuous, beautifully tactile and alive, these poems glitter with the world around us in all its fragility, damage and wonder.’
– Peter Boyle

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About the bookIn Beneath the Tree Line, Jane Gibian engages first and foremost with the natural environment, and with the contrast between the human engagement – with its extremes of fascination and despair – and the natural world itself, disinterested and unforgiving. The landscapes range from the coast to the forest, from rivers in urban settings to country towns and their surroundings. Their beauty is felt alongside their vulnerability to degradation. Throughout there is the awareness of connectedness, between people, places, seasons, animate and inanimate things – and the power of language to celebrate these connections, to register joy and constraint, and to draw on different kinds of reality. Later in the collection, Gibian’s poetry focuses on the passage of time and its vagaries, the ancient cycles of nature, the threat of change, personal histories, the fleeting moments of awareness captured in poems. Read Jane Gibian’s author note here.
About the authorJane Gibian is the author of four poetry collections, including Ardent (published by Giramondo in 2007). In 2020 she was awarded the Varuna Poetry Flagship Fellowship, and she has been the recipient of an Asialink Literature Residency in Vietnam. She works as a librarian and also writes about libraries, history and the environment.