Love Objects (Emily Maguire, A&U)
Pop culture representations of hoarding tend to paint a picture of unrestrained excess. Perhaps this is why, when Emily Maguire introduces Nic, a 45-year-old who loves her job at the supermarket and her weekly lunches with her niece, Lena, she doesn’t describe her as a hoarder. Instead, Maguire walks the reader through a day in Nic’s life, as she thoughtfully observes and collects each item that she passes on her way home from work. Maguire keeps the reader close, forcing them to witness the care with which Nic places each object in her home. When Nic suffers a severe fall and Lena finds her, alone and unconscious in her home, she is forced to recover in hospital while her niece sifts through her belongings. But where Nic sees the life of each and every object, Lena just sees mess, and Lena has enough mess to deal with after the pretty rich boy she slept with at uni filmed her, judged her and posted the video online. In Love Objects Maguire navigates the complex terrains of mental illness, class and rape culture with her trademark empathy and intelligence. This novel is an intimate, compelling read for fans of Sofie Laguna and Peggy Frew.
Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne writer and academic, and the schools programmer at the Wheeler Centre.