AUTHOR = Lia Hills
GENRE = Identity, Growing UP, Grief, Death
INTEREST LEVEL = Yrs 11, 12
Lia Hills’ debut novel is certainly a compelling read. The narrator, 17 y.o. Will, has just lost his mother (in a car accident) and is struggling to cope. Unable to connect with his father or brother, Will turns to philosophy and photography to try and make sense of his world and his grief. To further confuse the matter he also falls deeply in love (or lust?) with a girl he first saw at his mother’s wake. At first his relationship with Taryn seems like the one true constant amidst the confusion around him but even she can’t seem to save him from himself as he finds new, and increasingly risky, ways to find happiness or meaning in the world around him. And it seems he is intent on hurting all who try to help him. Is his endless search for meaning just sinking him deeper into a mire of confusion? Is his brother, right – that Will is just too intense for his own good. Or do we all have to deal with griegf in our own way?
Whilst the subject matter may appear to be bleak, Will is a likable narrator, even when he resorts to some rather ugly behaviour. However, this is not always an easy book to read and the explicit sexual and drug references suggest an older readership is more likely to engage with Will’s journey.
This book has been shortlisted for a number of literary awards and was longlisted for the Inkys (2009)
If you enjoyed ruminating on some of Will’s philosophising about life and death, you might like to look at Lia Hills’ bloggings when she was Writer in Residence at Inside a Dog.Not only does she offer thoughtful reflections about her novel but also she initiates some interesting philosophical discussions (with the aid of contributors) about all manner of interesting things. It is also a good place to learn more about this author as a poet. And check out her website, too.