A truly successful novel has the ability to resonate within the lives of its readers. Laura Bloom's The Cleanskin successfully touches on the subtle complexities of everyday life, showcasing the ability of universal truths to transcend both time and place. Set against the backdrop of contemporary Australia, the novel begins in the idyllic town of Mullumbimby – a stone’s throw away from Byron Bay. To the outside world, Halley lives a carefree life along with her husband and their teenage son. However, when Aidan – the brother of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) operative – resurfaces, her secluded existence is interrupted. Halley is forced to re-live the mistakes of her past, when as a naïve and idealistic woman, Halley was drawn into the activities of the IRA. In exposing Halley’s past, and pitting her against her alter ego, Bloom creates a complex, confused, yet morally courageous protagonist. With The Cleanskin, Bloom has written a novel relevant to those whose actions in a past life continue to haunt them, proving that true closure is only possible through acceptance of this history.
The Cleanskin is the fifth book by 1992 Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate, Laura Bloom. Bloom’s novels have been shortlisted for the NSW Literary Awards, the ABC Fiction Prize and the Young Australian Readers’ Awards and have been published in France, the US and the UK.