Told with the perfect mix of humour and tragedy, this is a tale for all families who have ever questioned how well a relative can really ever know another.
It is customary to bring gifts to a wedding. But as daughter Luna prepares to marry her dream husband, the Smith family instead have in tow their own idiosyncratic brands of emotional baggage.
Her father, Graham, struggles to write his own own obituary; her mother, Velma, attempts to negotiate her mid-life crisis with a lover seventeen years her junior; her brother, Ginsberg, tries to come to term with being a homosexual who has inadvertently fallen in love with his wife; and her obese uncle, Darren, starts an obsession with the absurd hero Ignatius J Reilly of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Can these hopelessly misguided attempts to unravel the complexities of family, legacy, sexuality and, ultimately, love and death, ever come to a resolution?
A stunning debut novel by Heather Taylor Johnson, Pursuing Love and Death is a darkly comic family saga, written with wit, lyricism and poignancy. It asks just how well we can really know our own family members, and what might be ‘good enough’ for them, as well as for ourselves. With clashing personalities uniting for the first time in years, the result is explosive.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Show me a writer who does not love a wedding: it's such a perfect vehicle for drama and extreme behaviour, misunderstandings and secrets. This impressively confident debut adopts a patchwork approach to the inner worlds of the Smith family, who are all heading for Adelaide for Luna's wedding. They're bringing their neuroses, fears and illnesses along with them, together with their conflicting desires and clashing personalities, so the nuptials promise to be explosive.
Funny, poignant and messy, this is a family as unique and as similar as anyone's, with its own language of jokes, its own no-go territory and infuriating habits. Hold it up like a mirror and you may recognise yourself.
About the Author
Heather is a poetry editor for Wet Ink Magazine and reviews poetry and fiction for various Australian and American literary journals. Her first poetry collection was a series of poems told from the points of view of a handful of literary heroines written by male authors. Her second book of poetry Letters To My Lover From A Small Mountain Town, was published by Interactive Press in February 2012. She has been appointed Adelaide’s Café Poet in Residence through Australian Poetry and, through that scheme, is organising a series of literary salons for the Tin Cat Café. She is also on the editorial team for AP’s inaugural members’ anthology.
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 1st September 2013
Dimensions (cm): 21.1 x 13.9 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.32