Nameless Lake is about the unspoken pressures of gender and desire, told through the shifting dynamics of a lifelong friendship. Emma and Madryn grow up with dreams of escaping their seaside hometown, sustained by an obsession with photography and secret acts of vandalism. But adulthood brings its own limitations, and Emma yearns for connection beyond the constraints of her family. Drawn deeper into Madryn’s private life, Emma feels new possibilities awakening within herself, but when Madryn faces a backlash from her controlling partner, Emma must finally break out of her role as passive observer.
‘A beguiling and deeply engaging novel. The narrator, a conservator of paintings, meticulously cleans away centuries of dirt. Her recollections – in which we shift effortlessly between childhood and parenthood, teenage transgression and adult affairs – are another act of restoration, of recovery. This is a book of detail, forensically presented, with something more disturbing always just out of sight.’ —Mick Jackson
‘Beautifully told, with astonishing insight into emotions and desires that are hard to articulate, even to ourselves, Nameless Lake has a quiet tension that exposes the gap between what we feel and what we do. Structured around an intense friendship, rich multiple threads reinforce and expand on each other, revealing how our own denials colour our view of others, building to an intense climax where the narrator must finally take action.’ —Giselle Leeb
‘Shadow and darkness and all the shades of light run through the work, as does photography. It is as though the camera is ever-present, its lens putting the narrator in close-up as she looks within herself. The reader is absorbed into the inner world, self-absorption and self-analysis of Emma as she endeavours to find agency in her life and the story hurtles towards its climax.’ —Jane Fraser
‘In this enthralling debut, Chris Parker has constructed with the assurance and brevity of a master craftsman, a patient and elegant portrait of a friendship edged with darkness. I love this novel.’ —Megan Bradbury
‘This book captures the essence of an enduring friendship between two women who’ve known each other since childhood. Nameless Lake shimmers with humour and resilience, is even giddy with fierce love at times, while also plumbing those murkier depths of our baser feelings and emotions. And Chris Parker reveals all of this to us in much the same way as Emma’s work in art restoration and conservation does a painting. Fragment by fragment, he uncovers the layers that have accumulated over the years and brings their friendship into sharper, almost forensic, focus so that Emma and his readers can examine it and hopefully come to appreciate where its true power and beauty lies.’ —Kathryn Eastman, Nut Press
‘This book is unlike anything I’ve read of late and so, utterly beautiful! It makes me think of kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending it with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. There is nothing broken about this novel but the friendship between Emma and Madryn is narrated in what appear to be fragments of life, beautifully bound together by the author’s powerful use of language – the gold, in this metaphor. But don’t take my word of it, experience this beauty yourself!’ —Book after Book
‘I could ramble on for paragraphs about the complex, sometimes intense friendship between these two women. Or I could wax lyrical about the sheer genius and beauty of Parker’s writing, but I won’t do that. This is a book you need to read and experience for yourself. You need to drink it all in, as the fragmented pieces of their lives slowly begin to come together, leaving you to savour every beautifully written, cleverly constructed word of this mesmerising and simply unforgettable novel.’ —Cal Turner Review