About the author

S.L. Lim

About the book

Judges' report

S.L. Lim’s novel is a psychological portrayal of what happens when an unhinged, manipulative, violent man controls a domestic space – and the ruinous impacts it has on the lives of women and girls in his orbit.

Reminiscent of the menacing domestic oppressions explored in the novels of Elizabeth Harrower, Lim writes about the life of Yannie: a bright, brainy girl whose intellectual ambitions and longings are thwarted by her brother, Shan. Shan’s menace is enabled by his parents as a child, and as an adult, by educators and employers. Despite the unravelling of Yannie’s aspirations – and familial and social demands that she be subservient – her spirit is bold, brave, and gutsy. 

Lim’s writing is tight and impeccably controlled. The fraught, charged atmosphere pervading this novel never abates. Across 230 tense pages we witness the entire life of Yannie unfold, as she shifts from a clever yet obstructed and diminished girl, to a grown woman on a quiet quest for retribution.

Further reading


‘Lim has a way with language that feels both deliciously hypnotic and powerfully disarming.’  Jessie Tu, The Guardian

‘This is a complex novel about power, money, sexuality and systemic inequality, written with elegance and restraint.’ Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald


Read ‘FWF Quarantine Q&A: S.L. Lim’ via the  Feminist Writers Festival

Read ‘Between the Lines: S.L. Lim’ via the Centre for Stories

Listen to ‘S.L. Lim on desire, art and the power of resistance in Revenge: Murder in Three Parts’, Good Reading podcast

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