“Instantly immersive, beautifully imagined, this is an unflinching but inspiring story about some things we’re going to lose, and other things we must never lose.” —Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series
Roz Dineen’s Briefly Very Beautiful is a spellbinding dystopian novel about the lengths one will go to for their children in a world teetering on the edge of apocalypse.
In a land destabilized by unsafe air, wildfires, floods, viruses, supply shortages, and homegrown terror, Cass is raising three small children by herself in the city. Her husband, Nathaniel, has gone all too willingly to serve as a medic in an overseas war. His absence, and Cass’s isolation, has brought her into an exhausted but harmonious rhythm with the children; while it’s a frightening time, there is also a surprising, quiet tenderness in living on the edge of societal collapse.
When things start to feel more dangerous in the city, Cass evacuates with the children to her mother-in-law’s house deep in the countryside. Initially, it’s a place of safety, but her mother-in-law’s erratic behavior and increasing grip over the children worries Cass, and so they flee again to a commune on the coast. It’s an idyllic place, but Cass comes to suspect this seemingly harmonious community has a dark underbelly.
Briefly Very Beautiful is a magnetic novel about love and resilience. Against a wider backdrop of a world imploding, it is an exploration of hope and fear, beauty and joy, as well as seismic betrayal. Roz Dineen’s lush prose combines with epic and precise world-building to create a society that feels at once unrecognizable but deeply, chillingly familiar. The result is a compelling portrait of what it is to parent through apocalypse.
"Instantly immersive, beautifully imagined, this is an unflinching but inspiring story about some things we're going to lose, and other things we must never lose."
—Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series
"A haunting vision of our slow-motion apocalypse. This is exactly what it will be like."
—Michael LaPointe, author of The Creep
“Briefly Very Beautiful left me breathless. It is a stunning, poetic, impelling story of love and survival, which I could not stop reading. It is an incredible novel, and the fact it is a debut by Roz Dineen makes it ever more brilliant.”
—Jodie Whittaker, actress
“A story that burns from the page. Dineen writes about motherhood and the climate crisis with piercing clarity.”
—Amy Twigg, author of Spoilt Creatures