Three Eight One
An astonishing literary crossover novel about the pressures of growing up and the nature of authorship.
In January 2314, Rowena Savalas – a curator of the vast archive of the twenty-first century’s primitive internet – stumbles upon a story posted in the summer of 2024. She’s quickly drawn into the mystery of the text: Is it autobiography, fantasy or fraud? What’s the significance of the recurring number 381?
In the story, the protagonist Fairly walks the Horned Road – a quest undertaken by youngsters in her village when they come of age. She is followed by the “breathing man,” a looming presence, dogging her heels every step of the way. Everything she was taught about her world is overturned.
Following Fairly’s quest, Rowena comes to question her own choices, and a predictable life of curation becomes one of exploration, adventure and love. As both women’s stories draw to a close, she realises it doesn’t matter whether the story is true or not: as with the quest itself, it’s the journey that matters.