Gravity is the Thing (Pan Macmillan Australia) is now in a bookshop or street library near you.
Anything is possible in a Jaclyn Moriarty novel. You never know where she will take you.
Remember the audacious Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie, one of the ‘Ashbury/Brookfield’ books for young adults; the unique, colourful world of the Kingdom of Cello in ‘The Colours of Madeleine’ trilogy; and the masterful middle-fiction ‘Kingdoms and Empires’, from which The Slightly Alarming Tales of the Whispering Wars has just been shortlisted by the CBCA.
Jaclyn writes across age-groups but all her novels share an elusive sense of whimsy, mystery and imagination. This creates an original and engaging reading experience whilst also lightly sharing weighty ideas.
Her books have won awards in Australia and internationally.
Her new book, Gravity is the Thing, is her second book for adults. This is an astonishing tale about flight: how loneliness, loss and grief can be saved by love and the possibility of flying.
Abi lives on Sydney’s Lower North Shore where she runs the Happiness Cafe. She hasn’t come to terms with the disappearance of her brother Robert after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a teen. Her husband ended their marriage, and she has a much-loved son, Oscar, from a one-night-stand.
When Abi was fifteen, she received the first chapter of the mysterious Guidebook in the mail. Whenever she moved, she updated her address and chapters followed her around the world and back to Australia. She has responded with annual reflections.
Part 1 begins twenty years after the arrival of the first chapter, with a retreat on a small island in Bass Strait where twenty-six people hope they are the ones chosen to learn the truth about The Guidebook. Abi has the “feeling that something swift and strong is going to happen or unfold; that here, among these people, are stripes of energy, smouldering and poised, ready to snap into being.” They run three-legged races, make paper planes and share some of their own stories.
By the end of the three days all except fifteen people have been eliminated from the group. They are told the truth about flying.
Abi secretly believed that the retreat would help her find her brother because The Guidebook first arrived the year Robert disappeared. Flight Instructor, Wilbur, admits that he doesn’t believe in literal flight but he invites Abi and some others to Tuesday evening seminars at his apartment in Newtown where they play games, develop their senses and learn how to fly.
Friendships and relationships develop but, in true Jaclyn Moriarty style, tangents lead to ingenious plot twists. Along the way we traverse feelings of blame and lack of confidence while searching for love, beauty, courage and truth.
Jaclyn Moriarty’s website is http://jaclynmoriarty.com/
My reviews of Jaclyn’s books for The Weekend Australian:
My interviews with Jaclyn:
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy of Gravity is the Thing.