The Family Made of Dust Anniversary Edition: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback

The Family Made of Dust Anniversary Edition: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback

by Laine Cunningham

Paperback(Softcover ed.)

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"One of the best novels in ten years." Hackney Literary Awards Committee

Destined to become the next The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

For fans of Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, and Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, and viewers of “Mystery Road,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” and “Bite Club.”

In this thrilling debut novel ranked alongside Pulitzer Prize winners William Styron and Horton Foote, a gripping search for a missing friend unearths the price one boy paid for brutal adoption policies.

Gabriel Branch is a man displaced. Having lost his boyhood family to a government’s attempt at genocide, his emotions balance on a razor's edge. Then his best friend disappears in the vast Australian desert. The only clue is an Aboriginal artifact that leads Gabe back to the land of his birth.

As he searches for his friend, long-suppressed memories resurface. Memories of the uncle who swung him up into a tree and called him Little Breeze. Memories of the mother he lost. Memories of the candy the social workers used to lure him away from his Outback home.

Vast, dangerous and beautiful, The Family Made of Dust is a remarkable story about the special relationships families can treasure even when they have been broken apart...and how a spare and beautiful landscape can resurrect that which we hold so dear.

Comparable titles: If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks, Home by Harlan Coben, Cross the Line by James Patterson, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, and Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.

Laine Cunningham’s books are included in the fantastic fiction found on “books to read” and “good books to read” lists curated on online book review sites. Bookworms have compared her stories to bestselling books that garner recommended reading notes by bookstore employees. Browse the full selection of her fiction and nonfiction titles at Amazon books, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, and your local independent bookstore.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946732576
Publisher: Sun Dogs Creations
Publication date: 08/18/2017
Edition description: Softcover ed.
Pages: 218
Sales rank: 1,082,484
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)

About the Author

A long-time writer and graphic designer, Leya decided to combine her passions and begin creating book covers.

You can learn more at:

After Laine Cunningham's debut novel manuscript won a national literary award, Jack Scovil became her agent. Mr. Scovil worked with Norman Mailer, Carl Sagan, Morris West and Arthur C. Clark. Their ten-year relationship ended when he passed.

Laine then developed a new fiction voice that resulted in On a Rush of Silent Wings, a literary black comedy dealing with income inequality and the illusions we choose to believe. Currently she is developing an epic historical novel set in Europe during the scientific revolution before the Enlightenment.

Her novels include The Family Made of Dust: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback, which won two national awards. Beloved, a sensual noir thriller, follows an FBI agent who must access the dark power of the goddess Kali to bring down two serial killers. In Reparation, a Lakota Sioux man must save a sister and his lover from a sinister peyote cult.

Laine's goal for her fiction is to spur readers into dialog about our society and the parallels found in history. When individuals recognize how large issues build on multiple small elements, many of which were taken up by individuals just like them, they recognize that everyone can foment change.

As a publishing consultant with twenty years of experience, she has written Writing While Female or Black or Gay: Diverse Voices in Publishing. Also look for Seven Sisters: Spiritual Messages from Aboriginal Australia.

More information can be found on and

Table of Contents

1 The Precious Dead

2 Aussie Luck

3 The Healing

4 Rescue

5 Message Stick

6 Family

7 Sugarbag

8 Police

9 Whirligig Woman

10 Wanampi

11 Legacy

12 Halfway Downs

13 Magic Tea

14 Spider Lightning

15 Soot

16 Golliwog

17 Twin Stars

18 Killing Ground

19 Butcherbird

20 Lessons

21 Pelican Man

22 Spirit Walking

23 The Bone Pointing

24 Prayers

25 Silence

26 Skin Name

27 Possum Dreaming

28 Little White Boy

29 Karadji

30 Cannibal Song

31 Blood

32 Brothers

Free Sample from Beloved

About the Author

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The Family Made of Dust Anniversary Edition: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite Gabriel's best friend, 'roo shooter Ian McCabe, is missing. Leaving his ordered life in Townsville, Queensland, aboriginal Gabriel Branch travels into the heart of the Australian outback in search of his mate. But running with the adventurous and caring Rob, trying to escape the black magic of the evil aboriginal shaman, Dana, he finds something unexpected. Gabe, who was removed from his family and raised as a white man, learns about the traditions and customs of his people, and discovers a deeply hidden part of himself. In The Family Made of Dust: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback, Laine Cunningham takes the reader deep into the heart of outback Australia, putting the reader into the scenes with descriptions so vivid you can taste the red dust. Cunningham takes us into the hearts and minds of Gabriel and Rob, and the various members of Rob's family. She portrays the people and the lifestyle of the outback so graphically that you will close the book believing you were there. She paints the characters in such depth that you come to know them as well as you know your own family and best friends. The Family Made of Dust by Laine Cunningham is a real treat for lovers of action and adventure. But Cunningham gives us much more than a gripping story. She gives us a peek into a fascinating world and culture, a taste of the pain caused by social crimes, and insight into the consequences of misunderstanding and misguided attempts at racial integration. The author gives us food for thought about the issues of identity and belonging in our world. She gives us self-awareness and delivers all of this in a story told with the richest and most amazing word magic. Some of the descriptive phrases paint pictures more vivid than any artist could create and are so original that they startle you, and embed themselves in your memory. Laine's writing is wonderfully poetic. I could read the book again just for the music the words make. Laine Cunningham delivers literary fiction at its best.