A new novel for me: Moving On

By September 22, 2016Books, History, Language, Media, Society

I am announcing the publication of my fifth novel, Moving On, in the expectation that some of my readers might be able to attend one or other (or both!) of the book launches, in Sydney (October 23rd) and Canberra (October 27th). There is nothing about climate change or politics in this novel. It is about what is suggested by the book’s title: what happens when, some time after a disaster or disappointment of some kind, you gather your own forces,  and decide that you need to move on. Doing so may not be at all straightforward.


It is 1999, in Sydney, Australia. The Millennium is only weeks away, a time when a new era will begin for humanity. Four people are hoping for a new era for themselves, too.

Ros, 39, has been dumped by her husband for a younger woman, now pregnant to him. Brady, 42, saw his young partner die of cancer, and has been a hermit for the year since her death. Linda, 22, has been dominated by her mother, and is desperate to leave home and start her own life. Peter, 35, is a businessman, highly successful, who thinks it is now time to marry. Ros is Linda’s godmother. Brady once lived with Ros, a long time ago. Peter is Linda’s employer.

All of them want to move on, which is what friends say when people have had a major crisis. But moving on is not necessarily easy. You have to know roughly where you want to move to, and how best to do it. Ros, Brady, Linda and Peter are not sure of the direction or the timing.

And moving on can start without one recognising it for what it is. Ros goes to a church function and is inspired by the speaker. Linda loses her temper at a Christmas lunch, and leaves home. Brady has an extraordinary experience on a mountain. Peter receives a puzzling email, which prompts unexpected action in other people.

Their paths are set in motion, and interact with each other. By the end, all have moved on, but not necessarily in the directions they first thought.

The original idea for this novel came to me almost two decades ago, as a novella. Though my small group of draft-readers loved it, my literary agent didn’t, and I put it aside to do other things. But I liked the two women, and eventually decided that I would write a full-scale novel involving them, though not with the original plot. Then I put that aside because I wasn’t happy with it, and did more other things. Then a year ago I decided that I should finish it, and did. And here it is.

I now have a proper book distribution system, so theoretically you ought to be able to buy the book through any good bookshop. There will be a Kindle edition on October 23rd, and it will also be available on the website at the RRP (including p&p) of $29.95 on the same day.

Sydney: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe point Road Sunday 23rd October, 3.30 for 4.00pm. Wendy McCarthy AO will be launching the book.

Canberra: Paperchain, Manuka, Thursday 27th October, 5.30 for 6.00pm. Claudia Hyles will be launching the book.



Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • margaret says:

    Congratulations. I like the cover.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Wonderful, Don. I wish I had your talent.

    The fighter who writes and the writer who fights.

    The hope of moving on fires us all.

  • Nga says:

    I can only hope that your novels aren’t as glib as your claim to be a brilliant keyboard scientist.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Do you ever hope to move on, Nga?

      What’s your chance, d’you think?

      • margaret says:

        The bromance you have with Don is intense Spangles.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Margy, you obviously have unusual powers of deduction.

          So please enlighten me how my comment to Nga makes you draw that conclusion?

          Or do you suffer from agender agenda?

        • JimboR says:

          “The bromance you have with Don is intense Spangles.”

          Happily they’re poles apart on marriage equality. From one we have:

          “the institution of marriage is changing… the possibility of same-sex marriages. I don’t think it means the end of anything. We will adapt, and are adapting.”

          “I would vote ‘for’ a marriage equality bill if there were a plebiscite. ”

          And from the other:

          “It’s about trying to gain the same legitimacy as hetero couples”

          “why is it necessary to further invade hetero space?”

          I guess the bromance isn’t intense enough to cross that bridge. Poor ol’ Don goes a bit off-piste in the field of climate science, and ends up attracting all sorts of drongoes to his site. Meanwhile, the more logical thinkers tend to drift away to other corners of the web.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Jimbo, you have to cut the girls a bit of slack. After all, they talk between themselves a bit and that doesn’t help their cognitive processes.

            “Meanwhile, the more logical thinkers tend to drift away to other corners of the web.”

            Pleased to see you read my last comment on the PP of M, Jimb.

            But keep at it, you’re improving.

            And don’t forget to remind the girls about those babies.

          • margaret says:

            Yes I should have said infatuation – the other word does imply a mutuality so I retract the word bromance with apology.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Now all you have to do is justify “infatuation”.

            Admit it Marg, you are simply happy to come up with something disparaging.

            And as for poor ol’ enge, she’s just desperate to do likewise.

            But any moment now she will relent and tell us all about her happy hetero existence.

            Won’t you enge?


            You still there, enge?

          • dlb says:

            “Don goes a bit off-piste in the field of climate science, and ends up attracting all sorts of drongoes to his site.”

            Yes, he does attract some drongoes, but also the self anointed ski patrol telling him he shouldn’t be off the designated slope.
            I must admit I enjoy a bit of cross country skiing.

  • margaret says:

    Ros and Brady are baby boomers (just). Linda and Peter are GenX separated by a decade. I am a baby boomer of the forties, Don is a pre-war baby. Spangles maybe a during war baby?
    I lie when I say I avoid labels. Generational change fascinates me. The things that happen!
    I loved the sociological novels of Margaret Drabble. I read them in my twenties. They were of course set in the UK but I could relate, I could understand the characters lives and personalities. I may read Moving On – it sounds interesting. We can no more escape our eras than the bodies we were born into. Also, I have no brothers, Don has no sisters – such things have effects, particularly when you were born in the mid C20th.

    • margaret says:

      Margaret Drabble interviewed for Paris Review.
      “This is what is so interesting about life: choosing to be something and being struck down while you do it by a falling brick. The whole question of free will and choice and determinism is inevitably interesting to a novelist. Perhaps I go on about it more than some. Are your characters puppets in the hands of fate or are they really able to make free choices? I think we have a very small area of free choice.


      And what is that area?


      We can choose not to be selfish or as self-indulgent or as hard-working as we are by nature. We can choose to go against our nature, but only very slightly. You can’t completely alter what you were given without doing yourself a great violence, which means that you go mad or become an ineffective person. It also has to do with where you start from. You can’t ignore it or cut it out of yourself. I think families change over the generations, but the amount that each person changes is not as great as he thinks it’s going to be when he is young.”

  • Nga says:

    Snip? Ah, Don, you’re an old man with no sense of humour and a fragile ego. Learn to enjoy life. Your Autumn Years need not end in bitterness and decay. Well, actually, decay is inevitable but you can avoid the bitterness.

    • spangled drongo says:

      No need to get shirty, enge, just because you don’t like moving on.

      But now that you bring up the subject, that’s another thing you have kept secret.

      Your own SoH.

    • Don Aitkin says:


      In getting on for 11,000 comments you provided the first to be snipped. Crudeness and coarseness have no place here.

  • […] Aitkin has published his fifth novel, Moving On. The launch will be on 27 October at Paperchain Bookstore. Details […]

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