The Glass Heart
'The Glass Heart is a dreaming...sung out of blood and memory and ritual. In prose that is sensual, vivid, savage, frightening and magical, Katerina Cosgrove's novel is a meditation on inheritance that becomes both an invocation and a devotion to the task of remembering.'
Anna Maria Dell'oso
A young woman travels alone through her ancestral landscape, speaking the old stories. She stumbles down the paths trod by her grandmother fifty years ago, paths rutted by civil war and goats and evasions for the unwary. There is glass in this story, splintering, a heart filled with the weight of history. There is blood in this history, on the earth and on parted lips, utterances, furious bees caught forever in a vessel of their own making. There are shards of pottery to be pieced together and bones to be unearthed from citrus groves. There is a husband who is abandoned and a cousin who becomes a lover. There is the past and there is the present, and both blur in the telling. In the end there is only a grandmother and a granddaughter, and each tell their own stories: glittering, hard, slippery with lies.
‘The Glass Heart shimmers with Cosgrove’s evocative powers …Visceral images of eating, drinking, love-making, giving birth and dying are treated with an unerring eye. Cosgrove’s writing has beautiful, poetic flourishes so it’s not surprising her name has been coupled with the likes of Allende and Garcia Marquez.’
‘Cancel that trip to the Greek islands and read this book instead…this is as real as it gets. It would be difficult to surpass Katerina Cosgrove’s intense evocation…This book will erase your sense of the here and now…Cosgrove does not flinch from offsetting the good with the bad, powerfully rendering the difficulty and rawness…intimately, jaggedly female in its bias, scored with eroticism, pain and loss…this is a captivating read.’
‘When you read a book that’s fantastic it takes – perhaps unfairly – from those around it. And so The Glass Heart draws an invisible line around itself that says, this book is special, take it slowly, enjoy it, remember it…The measured prose links past and present with parallels in plot, subtle shifts in imagery and the constant counter-balance of two different lives.’
The Canberra Times
‘This is a provocative, sensual telling of relationships and bonds that defy generations…Cosgrove’s telling is tantalisingly ripe with the tastes and smells of Greece…Her characters are drawn with honesty and rawness as she digs a finger into the dark and brittle places of the heart.’
The Sunday Mail
'This story teaches us about our world, asking what we want for ourselves and future generations.
It tells us it's time to learn from history - not to repeat it'
Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, author of I SHALL NOT HATE
BONE ASH SKY is the sweeping story of an American journalist who goes home to unravel four generations of war and genocide, love and renewal, in Turkish Armenia and modern-day Lebanon.
When Anoush Pakradounian steps off a boat and feels Levantine heat on her cheek like a caress, she thinks she knows where she's going: she thinks she knows who's right and who's wrong.
Yet nothing about her family's past is black and white. In 1915 one million Armenians were marched into Syria by Turks and killed in the first genocide of the twentieth century. In 1982 Beirut came under siege for three months and 18,000 civilians died, while another 30,000 were wounded.
Anoush's quest for answers is interwoven with the memory of ruined cities and vanished empires: Lake Van before the genocide, Beirut in civil war, Ottoman villas and desecrated churches, Palestinian refugee camps and torture chambers turned into nightclubs. Her search to find out the truth about her father, her grandparents and her own place in the story spans four generations and massive upheavals in the Middle East.
With echoes of Barbara Kingsolver's THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, Thomas Keneally's SCHINDLER'S LIST and Geraldine Brooks' THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, BONE ASH SKY is a powerful work that examines family, loyalty, love and secrets long-hidden in the horror of war and displacement.
‘A novel that is truly powerful, atmospheric, affecting, shocking yet level-handed. Cosgrove does not take sides, though others will, I suspect. Readers of Orhan Pamuk, Barbara Kingsolver and Tom Keneally will find this a rewarding read.’
books + publishing
‘Bone Ash Sky is a novel of an ambition that is no longer uncommon in Australian fiction, but still remarkable. The interlacing of disparate characters' lives might have been implausible. In Cosgrove's hands it seems fated…For Cosgrove, a Sydney writer with Greek roots who spent a long and fruitful time researching this novel, Bone Ash Sky may seem like the recommencement of her career. It is, in any event, a notable feat of imagination and execution on a scale that never daunted her.’
‘Cosgrove writes poetically about brutality. Her sentences are sparse and her imagery fierce…Her attempt to cover all sides of the spectrum, the depth of the research and fearlessness in writing about subjects such as the 1915 Armenian genocide - still denied by Turkish scholars - is truly commendable…I was left with a sense that this powerful story is a timely and impassioned plea for a better world, where cross-cultural and inter-religious divides no longer exist.’
The Sydney Morning Herald
‘An ambitious, politically charged and terrifically restrained novel.’
Patrick Allington, judging the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award
‘…an incredible novel from a unique talent…Cosgrove’s prose is sinuous, pictorial and terrifically controlled…Cosgrove’s work seems to have more authority and authenticity because she writes so passionately and serenely.’
In Daily, Adelaide’s Independent News
‘Bone Ash Sky is enlightening, shocking and absorbing.’
Good Reading Magazine
Mara escapes Athens, but the fall-out of her love for two brothers,
one the father of her child, follows her to Sydney.
'Katerina Cosgrove's Intimate Distance is the longest piece of the collection; a stirring and heartfelt portrayal of one woman's struggle to discover who she is. It details Mara's deeply conflicted love for two brothers, and the aftermath of her life with a child and an ailing mother. With a Turkish-Greek heritage and a father she never knew, Mara leaves her mother in a nursing home and journeys across the seas to where it all began. In the ancient city of Ephesus, Mara chances upon Zoi, a Greek doctor working in Turkey for a year who she follows back to Athens; an experience that will come to define her and forever change her life. Moving back and forth between Ephesus, Athens, the isolated Greek village of Lithohori, and Sydney, where Mara hails from, Cosgrove's unchronological narrative jumps between 2012, 2013 and 2017, and is vastly effective in charting the protagonist's confused state of jumbled emotions, displacement and disarray. With its overarching themes of forbidden love, abandonment, filial duty versus individual needs, and unresolved passion, Intimate Distance effectively delves into the dichotomy between the individualistic societies of the West and the more family-oriented, collective societies of Greece, where Mara simultaneously flounders and finds her very reason for being.'
‘A tale of infidelity and parenthood…Cosgrove’s loving depiction of the Greek setting and her sophisticated craftsmanship help ground the controversial motherhood-parenthood theme.’
The Sydney Morning Herald
Southern Sun, Aegean Light
Poetry of Second-Generation Greek Australians
'Several of Katerina Cosgrove's poems address the plight of the Armenian people in 1915. Having travelled through the lands depopulated by the Armenian genocide of circa 1915-1919 and the subsequent diaspora of survivors; having stepped into the Euphrates and glimpsed Ararat, and visited the towns of Erzerum, Van, Trebizond and Kars referenced by Cosgrove, I am acquainted with some of the geographic locations associated with those events. At the time of my own journey I was also aware of the fate of the Armenian populace. However, prior knowledge is not a prerequisite to appreciating these poems. Cosgrove probes the dark annals of ethnically-targeted atrocity and a diaspora that took place close to her maternal homeland, Greece, to which survivors of the Armenian expulsions, forced marches and massacres fled. Trauma is adroitly conveyed in precise language that is both confronting and restrained.'
Jena Woodhouse, A Sprig of Basil
'I feel that most poems maintain a strong sense of orality: the poems of George Alexander, George Athanasiou, Phillip Constan, Katerina Cosgrove, Komninos Zervos and Angela Costi are texts to be read aloud, indeed to be dramatised. A very strong performative element permeates their language, asking for its musical orchestration and corporeal expression.'
Mascara Literary Review