Tegan Bennett Daylight’s powerful collection captures the dangerous, tilting terrain of becoming adult. Over these ten stories, we find acute portrayals of loss and risk, of sexual longing and wreckage, blunders and betrayals. Threaded through the collection is the experience of troubled, destructive Tasha, whose life unravels in unexpected ways, and who we come to love for her defiance, her wit and her vulnerability.
Stunningly written, and shot through with humour and menace, Six Bedrooms is a mesmerising collection of moments from adolescence through adulthood, a mix of all the potent ingredients that make up a life.
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Elizabeth has fallen in love in her early adulthood, but with a lack of conviction and disturbing results. A little damaged, in her late twenties she embarks on a new affair with Ross, a fellow academic at her university. Their relationship blooms and offers her protection and security, for which she’s been searching since she stopped being a child. She moves into his big, old, rambling family home by the Parramatta River and becomes pregnant. Then Ross’s father, who deserted the family as a child and for whom Ross only seems to feel hatred and bitterness, resurfaces. He is living in Spain, but he is dying. Elizabeth persuades Ross that the family should make a journey to see him, to make peace with him and to show him Anna – their new daughter. But their holiday lays bare discomfiting truths and frailties, both in their relationship and each other. Bennett Daylight unfolds Ross and Elizabeth’s love affair, and the joy and pain of motherhood, with wonderful sensitivity in a captivating story written in her characteristically spare, limpid prose.
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In tight, beautiful prose, Tegan Bennett’s long awaited second novel, What Falls Away, touchingly explores a relationship that somehow, someway, has drifted apart despite the existence of love.
Each day one of them, both of them, added something more to the silence. Carefully, slowly, patiently, they were building a great structure out of it, an intricate structure. Mary participated in the work but wondered, sometimes, if they would have the skill and the tools to dismantle it. It was beginning to block doorways in their own house, to climb up towards the windows, to reach into the garden.
Mary doesn’t quite know what’s changed since the birth of her first child, but she and Sean don’t talk any more. While Sean simply shuts down, hoping things will fix themselves, Mary turns to Juliet, her best friend, for comfort. What Falls Away is an astutely observed, intricately fascinating exploration of the ways in which-sometimes without even noticing-we let silence take over our lives.