At a time of casual discrimination, this poor behaviour can have repercussions beyond the obvious.The novel is mostly set in Inner West Sydney, in a world of politically aware creatives who are forever bumping against each other.It explores how we make excuses for our bad behaviour and highlight our aspirations, always with our best times and deeds just before us, in the life to come.Ultimately, De Kretser highlights how we are the heroes of our own stories.We deceive ourselves and others to appear at our best.And this holds beyond the individual, as societies and nations also self-mythologise.Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people.Profoundly moving as well as wickedly funny, reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present.
I checked the website Eater for its Heat Map, which includes new, tasty restaurants in the city. The stunning fact remained: it was quicker for my dad to find a wife than it is for me to decide where to eat dinner.These ideals are soon revealed as the hypocritical constructs they are, with De Kretser deftly pinning each one to the board with glorious wit - her character observations are so acute that you are often left breathless.Thankfully, De Kretser’s inclusive compassion offsets this exposure of social shortcomings, as we realise these characters are full of human frailty, just like us. Moving and evocative, intellectual and pointed, and all written in brilliant prose, this book is a rich delight that is so uniquely of its time, and my pick of 2017 so far. Most of all, you will certainly want to re-read it.Each of her characters is a kind of vignette, carrying defined ideas of who they are and where they are going.Some have cast themselves as grand writers, charitable neighbours, or great liberal supporters of refugees and the marginalised.