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Singapore, 1949. A young Eurasian women, a survivor of the Japanese Occupation, meets the son of a privileged Australian family. She accompanies him to one of his parents' homes in Broome, Western Australia, with hope for a better life, despite doubts from her family.

Captivated by this life and his photography, she comes to see herself anew. But is the image true? And is it love?

What follows is a tale of secrets and ghosts, of love and loss, of the lies we tell each other and the lies we tell ourselves.

A dazzling work of emotional power, The Australian Fiance resonates in the mind and heart long after the reading is finished.

  • Book Title: The Australian Fiance
  • Author: Simone Lazaroo
  • Publisher: Picador, Pan Macmillan
  • Publishing Date: 2000
  • ISBN: 0330362003
  • Number of Pages: 212
  • Sample Reading (forthcoming)


  • Winner, 2000 Western Australian Premier's Book Award
  • Shortlisted, 2000 Kirriyama Rim Pacific Prize

Selected Reviews:

  • "In a spare but elegant style, Simone Lazaroo manages to give life to a couple of unlikely lovers who are brought together in fateful circumstances in the aftermath of World War Two. Lazaroo skillfully presents Australian life and customs as they are seen through the eyes of a young Eurasian woman, a former prostitute and victim of war, who finds herself physically and culturally isolated in a remote part of Western Australia. The author's own voice intervenes into that of the narrator as she explores the intensely painful emotions that accompany the woman's gradual rejection by a lover who has his own pastoral lineage to consider. Although written in the genre of romance, the novel eschews the genre's predictable conventions to examine in a moving and imaginative manner, themes of love, hope and loss in a cross-cultural relationship." ~ Judges' Comments, Western Australian Premier's Book Awards 2000
  • "The writing [of The Australian Fiance] is often elegiac and sensuous, with a certain dream-like melancholy which captures the young woman's experiences. I was also interested by the young woman's perceptions of that early Australian society flavored, as they are in her narratives, by her own experiences of poverty, hunger and wartime horror and by her cultural belief in a spirit world which is not unlike that of the aboriginal servants her fiance's family employ." ~ Ann Skea, The Eclectica Magazine
About Simone Lazaroo:  

Simone Lazaroo was born in Singapore, and migrated with her family to Western Australia in 1963. She lectures in Creative Writing at Murdoch University in Perth.

Lazaroo is the author of two award-winning novels: The World Waiting to be Made and The Australian Fiance. Her prizes include the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, the Western Australian Premier's Book Award for Fiction, and a shortlisting in the Kirriyama Rim Pacific Prize in 2000 with Carlos Fuentes and Michael Ondaatje. Her short stories have been anthologized in England and Australia. She was a regional judge for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2004.

Other Books by Simone Lazaroo:

A young woman travels back to her birthplace, Singapore, and to Malacca, her ancestral home, to discover rich, complex and mysterious aspects of her own identity.

The World Waiting to be Made is Simone Lazaroo's first novel. It is the winner of the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, the winner of the Western Australian Premier's Award - Fiction 1995, and is shortlisted for the Nita B. Kibble Award.


The Travel Writer begins in London, 1985. Ghislaine de Sequeira lies in a hospital. Once an obituary writer in Malacca, she had practiced eloquence in the face of death for years. But now she is dying, and it is her bereft daughter Isabelle's turn to articulate the meaning of a life at its end.

Isabelle tries to stem her grief by seeking solace in her writing tutor and piecing together the story of her mother's post-war Malaccan life and her desire for the travel writer, a man who alters the course of both women's lives irrevocably.


Sustenance tells the story of the Elsewhere Hotel in Bali, which has dreamy villas, a sparkling pool and lush gardens -- Find Yourself, promises the hotel's brochure. The Elsewhere also has Perpetua de Mello weaving her mother's wisdom with her own multicultural heritage to prepare sumptuous meals for tired Western guests.

It should be perfect holiday gateway for the newlyweds on their first trip overseas; for the French family in shock, for food writer Rex Broadfoot, who may have more than a professional interest in Perpetua de Mello.

But this paradise has a dark side, and discontent simmers barely beneath the surface. When the peace of the Elsewhere is shattered, it is Perpetua who emerges as an unlikely heroine. As she nourishes them all with her food and compassion, each of her guests, unsure if they still have a future, is compelled to look within and consider the real worth of the life they have lived so far.


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