Paradise Earth

by Amy Barker


Approaching the 25th anniversary of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, a trio battles demons on Tasman Peninsula. When John Kettle helps his fourteen-year-old son apply for a firearm’s permit, his prodigal sister Ruth looks to the landscape to explain the traumatic past, and illuminate their present. A Port Arthur survivor, Marina Aquilina has returned with her brother to pack up the holiday home Doo-No-Harm, following their mother’s death. In a convoy of duck rescuers, the siblings head for a confrontation with shooters on the wetland. In this existential novel, lives are choreographed by violence versus compassion, before the inevitable reckoning.

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‘The aftershocks from 1996 continued, year after year, often in the life of the individual more devastating than the Port Arthur massacre itself. Yet always the subsequent tragedies could be traced back to that unspeakable Sunday.’

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‘Paradise Earth is a provocative literary novel that highlights the complex relationship between violence and compassion.
Mari Carlson, Foreword Clarion Review

A task fraught with dangers: to be an honest and unflinching guide to this most terrible of Australia’s hauntings. Amy Barker reminds me of the young Dostoevsky, how in his novel of a Siberian prison camp he could descend the ladder of humanity step by step because even in the most degraded there must still be the divine spark. Not a safe place for writer or reader—but a novel of blazing and humbling integrity.
—Peter Bishop, formerly Creative Director of Varuna, the Writers’ House

In a masterful follow-up to her award-winning debut novel Omega Park, Amy Barker has created a simple and beautiful tapestry of lives lived in the shadow of the unthinkable violence of the Port Arthur Massacre. Set against the backdrop of the Tasman Peninsula’s raw and rugged natural beauty, and its tragic legacy, Paradise Earth recounts a series of separate but interconnecting stories that explore the vicissitudes and fragility of the human condition. The result is both lyrical and provocative.
—Chris Nyst, Cop This, Gone, Gettin’ Square, and Crook as Rookwood

Learn more about Paradise Earth by listening to Amy’s interview on ABC Radio National’s Books and Arts program.


Amy Barker is honoured as a finalist in the literary fiction category of the 2020 International Book Awards for Paradise Earth.

Amy Barker and Stormbird Press rise from the ashes of Kangaroo Island’s deadliest wildfires to win Gold in the Australia/NZ/Pacific Rim Best Regional fiction category in the 2020 Independent Publisher Awards.


Author: Amy Barker
Release date: April 28, 2020
Territory: English language market
Format: Hardback, paperback and eBook
Size: 203 x 128 mm
Pages: 324
ISBNs: 9781925856217 (hbk), 9781925856224 (pbk), 9781925856231 (ebk)