Forced into an early retirement due to illness, Sam Rosen has lost any semblance of control over his life. His frustration flares into rudeness and obstinacy frequently and bizarrely. His wife Rhonda, confined to the carer role, is feeling her identity ebb slowly away as her former life retreats further and further into the past.
Their eldest son Mark is over-invested, over-reaching and overwrought. As he lurches towards financial disaster, he can't bring himself to tell his wife Ingrid that they're losing money fast, and that her dream of starting a family might be the collateral damage. Middle child Liza has always been independent and political, content to scrape through on her child-care worker's wage in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Then her biological clock goes off. She begins to plan a nursery at her elusive boyfriend's inner city apartment, but instead uncovers a seedy secret. Before she knows it, she's back at square one: single, underpaid, undervalued. And angry. Baby of the family Jemma thinks that being mild-mannered will let her pass through life unharmed. Then, after dropping into a party at her neighbour's place one night, she wakes up bruised, naked and with no memory of what's happened. Her careful, uncurious life as a celibate finance lawyer falls away.
Frenetically paced and with comedic Franzenesque prose, Hopscotch captures contemporary urban life, interrogating our endless capacity for self-destruction, longing and love, and asking why we think we could ever find peace in a city that's roaring with dysfunction.
About the Author
Jane Messer lives in Sydney where she teaches creative writing at Macquarie University. Her books include Provenance, Night by Night and Bedlam - an Anthology of Sleepless Nights. She is a regular contributor to The Conversation, has been a Director of the Australian Society of Authors and a judge of the Australian Vogel Literary Award.