Avalanche: A Love Story (Julia Leigh, Hamish Hamilton)
Author and director Julia Leigh began IVF treatment at 38, knowing that the odds were stacked against her yet still hoping that she would be ‘one of the lucky ones’. Avalanche, Leigh’s first work of nonfiction, is a brave and candid account of her desire to have a child, and the way that desire took its toll, both emotionally and physically. From the endless tests and doctors’ appointments to the breakdown of her marriage, the agonising uncertainty and pain of hopes dashed, Leigh relates her journey with incredible, brutal honesty. The ‘uncomplicated and all-forgiving’ love for her imagined child is beautifully rendered, allowing the reader intimate access to Leigh’s excitement, hopes and grief when she decides to stop treatment. Moving beyond her personal story, Leigh also examines the infertility industry and the way it translates the desire for a child into numbers—the age of the mother, the dosage of hormones, the cost of treatment, the number of viable eggs and healthy sperm, the statistics, and so on. Despite the emotional subject matter, there are moments of light and humour that lift the story, providing respite for both Leigh and the reader. This book will appeal to readers of memoir and personal essay.
Cosima McGrath is the marketing and communications officer at Collins Booksellers