Review: Fauna – Donna Mazza


Donna Mazza

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760876302

RRP $29.99



A compelling near-future literary novel, psychological thriller and family drama


‘Fauna lays bare an electrifying genetically re-coded future so real, so terrifying, so close, I can feel its baby breath soft against my cheek.’ Robyn Mundy, author of Wild Light


‘Mazza’s novel asks hard questions, yet brims with compassion. A thrilling, unsettling read.’ Paddy O’Reilly, author of The Wonders


Set 17 years into a very recognisable future, Fauna is an astonishing psychological drama with an incredible twist: What if the child you are carrying is not entirely human?


Using DNA technology, scientists have started to reverse the extinction of creatures like the mammoth and the Tasmanian Tiger. The benefits of this radical approach could be far-reaching. But how far will they go?


Longing for another child, Stacey is recruited by a company who offer massive incentives for her to join an experimental programme called LifeBLOOD. As part of the agreement, she and her husband’s embryo will be blended with ‘edited cells’. Just how edited, Stacey doesn’t really know. Nor does she have any idea how much her longed-for new daughter will change her life and that of her family. Or how hard she will have to fight to protect her.


Fauna is a transformative, lyrical and moving novel about love and motherhood, home and family – and what it means to be human.



My View:

This is faultless writing; engaging, provocative, realistic and emotive.


There is little more I can add except to urge you to read this poignant “what if” narrative.


Post Script: Claiming Noah – Amanda Ortlepp

Claiming Noah

Claiming Noah

Amanda Ortlepp

Simon & Schuster

A CBS Company

ISBN: 9781925030600



Catriona and James are desperate for children, and embark on an IVF program. After a gruelling round of treatments, Catriona finally falls pregnant, and they donate their remaining embryo anonymously.

Diana and Liam are on a waiting list to receive an embryo. Sooner than expected, they are thrilled to discover one is available.

After a difficult pregnancy, Catriona gives birth to Sebastian. But severe postnatal depression affects her badly, and quickly turns into deadly psychosis. For her protection and her baby’s, she’s admitted into psychiatric care. When she comes home, she again struggles to bond with her baby, but gradually life finds its own rhythm.

Meanwhile, Diana has given birth to a beautiful little boy, Noah.

But when he is two months old Noah is abducted … and Diana and Liam’s nightmare begins.

Where is Noah?


This gripping, emotional thriller binds together the stories of Catriona and Diana and will leave you on the edge of your seat.


What if your child belonged to someone else?



My View:

An interesting look at post-natal depression, fertility issues including IVF, focussing on embryo adoption and the religious, ethical, legal and moral responsibilities of all parties concerned. Infertility is an issue that is becoming increasing prevalent in our modern society (or is it just becoming better known, I don’t have the research or stats to assess myself but am judging by recent social media attention to the topic) – and it is a very emotional topic. Silence can be isolating. Fertility issues can challenge our perspective of self. And then there is the discussion about the pressure to be a “perfect mother.” I am optimistic that this narrative will open up the kinds of discussions that need to be had.


A thought provoking debut novel.


This read is perfect for book clubs – it is rich in material for debate and discussion and is simultaneously poignant and evocative.