Author(s): Kavita Bedford
A group of housemates in Sydney's inner city contend with gentrification, divisive politics, loss, grief, their own complicated privilege as second-generation Australians, the evolving world of dating and work in this wry debut. Losing a father isn't easy. Neither is the split existence you live afterwards when you can still conjure up the past where he was alive and yet have to live in the present where he is not. Grief is universal and eternal, yet how we deal with it--or how it deals with us--depends on who is grieving, when, and with whom. On the outside, the protagonist of this stylish debut novel seems to have it all together, but the grief she is still feeling after the loss of her father her to live a a divided existed and constructs a barrier between between the day-to-day reality of what she's experiencing with people her age, this life that she's leading, and a feeling of estrangement, grief, and need? The world these characters inhabit--rent is nuts, nobody is getting younger, and everyone remains unsatisfied, always wanting something more--the emotions they struggle to understand (and even feel), their ambivalence and confusion about the future, work, the political issues of the day, relationships, and each other all weave together to create the background for a poignant story about loss. Friends & Dark Shapes is funny but substantial, tight and well-written. From the tautness of each individual vignette to the full power of the whole, Friends & Dark Shapes brings forth a bold, new voice that needs to be heard.