Book Review: The Albatross by Nina Wan

About the Book:

‘The albatross is just about the rarest thing in golf – two shots on a par 5. A hole-in-one, anywhere on the course, is just a random event, a fluke. It’s not your own doing. But an albatross . . . It’s a thing of beauty. One. Two. It must be very deliberate, very thoughtful, one superb shot followed by another. You can say it’s got to take a degree of belief. You’ve got to really want it, and aim for it, and try for it.’

When Primrose makes an unplanned detour into a dilapidated suburban golf course called Whistles, she has no idea that the past will come rushing back at her, bringing every detail of her life into stark focus.

At 36, her marriage is teetering from illness and infidelity. A visit from her commanding brother-in-law looms ominously on the horizon. And by a twist of fate, Peter, the boy she loved twenty years ago, is now living across the street.

Primrose cannot escape the increasing demands to make a choice, between her first love and her marriage, duty and desire, fear and freedom. Slowly, the grounds of Whistles, and a sport she proves to be terrible at, become her meditation and cure.

From a sparkling new Australian voice, The Albatross is a big-hearted, beautifully written and utterly engaging novel about first love, second chances and the most elusive shot in golf.

Published by PanMacmillan Australia

Released April 2023

My Thoughts:

This debut contemporary fiction is one that I won’t hesitate to recommend. It was utterly brilliant, I enjoyed it so much. Fiercely intelligent and heartbreakingly realistic, I laughed, I cried, and then I cried some more.

Primrose stole my heart from the very beginning. This novel explores some heavy themes – mental illness, cancer, sexual assault, politics, toxic friendships, first love, parenting when you and your partner are not well, growing up as a migrant in Australia, race relations, issues of class – but it does so with a balanced hand, giving and taking so that the novel is never too heavy, never too much of anything, just perfectly right all the way through.

As to the golf, how unexpectedly delightful this aspect of the story turned out to be!

Five stars and a solid read this one immediately from me.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Albatross by Nina Wan

    • This one is a re-do. I originally posted it in a combined post with Robyn Cadwallader’s as a two in one set up. I wasn’t really happy though with that style of post, I originally did it as a time saver but it honestly took me longer. So I went back last night and pulled this one out and into it’s own post and then edited the original post to be a review for Robyn’s book on its own.
      The other two reviews are new, books I read last week but I ran out of time on the weekend to write them.
      Apologies for the deluge!


      • No, don’t apologise, I was impressed!
        I know what you mean about combining books in a review… I’ve always just named my posts by the title and the author — and very occasionally a nod to a prize that was won — and I think it makes it much easier for people to find it using a search engine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a much cleaner approach, I think, just one post per book. I see plenty of bloggers doing posts that combine books but I never feel as though mine come off the same. I just need to stick to my tried and true formula! Plus, I felt irrationally guilty for not giving each of those authors their own posts given how much I liked each of those books.


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