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A fierce and beautiful debut novel about our capacity for harming ourselves, each other and the world around us In the early nineteenth century, British explorer John Oxley traversed the unknown wilderness of central Australia in search of water. He never found it, but he never ceased to believe that it was out there. The myth of 'the inland sea' was taken up by other men, and over the years search parties walked out into the desert, dying as they tried to find it. Two centuries later, Oxley's great-great-great granddaughter is reeling from her own self-destructive obsessions - drinking heavily, sleeping with strangers, wandering Sydney's streets at night, and navigating an affair with an ex-lover. She works as an emergency-dispatch operator, tracking the violence, floods and fires that bloom and rage across Australia during an increasingly unstable year. Reckless and adrift, she prepares to leave. The Inland Sea is a fierce and beautiful novel about coming of age in a dying world. Madeleine Watts grew up in Sydney, Australia and has lived in New York since 2013. She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and her fiction has been published in The White Review and The Lifted Brow. Her essays have appeared in The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her novella, Afraid of Waking It, was awarded the 2015 Griffith Review Novella Prize. The Inland Sea is her first novel.