Heartland (Jennifer Pinkerton, A&U)
There would be very few among us who, deep in the wilds of the dating tundra, wouldn’t have thought in frustration, I just wish I knew what they’re thinking! Well, that is exactly what journalist and author Jennifer Pinkerton seeks to find out in her book Heartland, an insightful and intriguing examination of the psychology of dating, sex, love, marriage and relationships of all forms. Through more than 70 interviews with participants of varied genders, generations and cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, paired with fascinating discussions with leading cultural and social psychologists in the field, Pinkerton explores the shifting landscape of expectations, hopes, dreams and beliefs when it comes to love. Against the backdrop of Australia as it navigates devastating climate emergencies and life with Covid-19, Heartland takes us from the halls of the Australian National University to the shores of the Tiwi Islands, addressing topics such as love in lockdown, dating app usage, pornography consumption, polyamory and ethical non-monogamy, and more. This is a book that will cause deep introspection and reflection, and rightly so: examining our own beliefs and aspirations around sex, love and relationships serves to nurture better individuals as well as better lovers and partners. Readers of Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity and Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy’s The Ethical Slut will find Heartland an absorbing and illuminating companion read.
Georgia Brough is a teacher, critic and writer. Read her interview with Jennifer Pinkerton about Heartland here.