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Out on the Edge


A clear-eyed view of a world that can be tougher than most of us realise, but that is never without hope of redemption and a future of our own making.

Alison has her life together. There's not much that can faze her.


Garry's blown it in a big way – but then, it was never going to turn out any other way, was it? Not with a dad whose alcohol-fuelled rages have been leaving bruises for years. And sooner or later you have to say 'enough'. Don't you?


When Alison and Garry's worlds collide, neither has a way to understand the parameters of each other's lives. That doesn't stop Alison from trying. Garry needs help, and she can give it. Simple.


But nothing is ever simple, and it gets even less so once the police, Justice system and Social Services get involved.


But Alison’s not the type to stand by and do nothing, even though everyone says it’ll only pull her down. Even though it does.


"Got to get away. Don’t think, just move. Every step hurts. Everything hurts. Crossing the road, a horn screams. Too much noise in my head – too much screaming."

Cover image for Anna Mackenzie's Out on the Edge

Published 2005

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Story Behind the Story – Anna says:


Out on the Edge traverses ground that scares off some of the gate-keepers: domestic violence, the family court system, foster care both good and bad. Half a lifetime ago I spent a few years working with rape and incest victims, and that experience runs in the background of this novel. I wanted to write a story that validates experiences beyond the mainstream but, more than that, I was interested in exploring how we make sense of one another’s lives when they run contrary to the underlying assumptions of our own.


The story is told in two voices: Alison, resourceful, sensible, compassionate, who has the benefit of a supportive family – albeit one that has seen its share of grief. And Garry, whose family struggles with issues of alcohol abuse and violence. When Alison’s ‘normal’ world and Garry’s imploding one collide, everyone has an opinion, everyone has advice and ultimately the roles begin to reverse.


I was aiming to write about how we make sense of the world, and what we do when our assumptions, our foundations, are torn away. I guess in a way I also wanted to acknowledge those people who are dealt a hand that seems stacked against them from the outset, and that who show, despite the hurdles thrown up against them, that despite it they can be the people who really count.

What the Reviewers Say


'This is an excellent piece of work from an emerging writer – well-written, intelligent, in character and perfectly pitched for the intended reader. Highly recommended!'

– Reading Time


'A fast-paced, sharply insightful, complex tale'

Margie Thomson, Sunday Life + View


'A difficult topic, told with a hint of humour, clarity, honesty and hope… A great read.'

Esmé Kidd, in Fiction Focus


Read more reviews...


Teaching Notes


There are comprehensive Teaching Notes available for all Anna's books.

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