‘Relativity’ by Antonia Hayes

relativitySecond book club book for 2018. and wow… was this one hard slog to get through.


Relativity is the first book written by Australian author Antonia Hayes and is set in Sydney.

The story revolves around Ethan and his mum, Claire. Ethan loves everything physics and astronomy and pretty much any chance he gets he is talking about it. Claire is his mother and she is doing her best to be both mum and dad.

Ethan’s dad, Mark is absent and then suddenly he’s in town and everything starts to bring them together. Like gravity I guess.

The constant talk of physics and astronomy drained on me throughout this book. Basically this story is a generalised science lesson rolled into a good old fashioned family drama. It would be safe to say that a point I did start skimming over the science jargon just to get through the book.

However, I would suggest if the science wasn’t in there it would have been a much smaller book and wouldn’t have the intensity that this topic allows the story to draw on.

We find out through the book that Ethan was a victim of ‘shaken baby’ when he was 4 months old. And his father was accused and convicted of it. Interesting twist, as we are then drawn into the inner-workings of the characters as they all question whether he is guilty or innocent.

I actually found this part of the story quite good and I myself began to question whether Mark had committed the crime. Right, when I convinced myself he hadn’t and there was hope for this little family, BOOM! We are hit with the truth.

Antonia, handles the flashback to the incident really well and I could feel the magnitude and emotion in the flashback. This was the 20% of the book that I truly enjoyed reading. Plus bonus – there wasn’t that much science in that bit.

Perhaps like Schrodinger’s cat, this book would have been left on the shelf. That way, it could be considered to be both a good and a bad book.

Sorry, but science is just not my thing. Unless it is in a Doctor Who episode.

My rating 2.5/5.



‘Cairo’ by Chris Womersley

cairoFirst book club book of 2018. Not a book I would normally be drawn to. But isn’t that the point of joining a book club.

The book is written by a “melbournite” and is probably a large reason why I enjoyed reading this book. Having spent the better part of 5 years living in the same suburbs these characters live in, it was like being back there. The descriptions of the city were detailed and well done and at times I felt he had painted a great picture of what it is to live in inner-Melbourne.

I will admit right now that I don’t know that much about art. I’m very much of the view that if I enjoy looking at it, it’s a winner. Of course, making this admission would probably mean that the main characters of Max, Edward, Sally and Gertrude would probably want nothing to do with me.

At times I did find that my lack of art knowledge meant that I needed to do a little research throughout this book to keep up. However, educational as it was, as I never knew about the art heist of the ‘weeping woman’. So that was interesting to learn about.

Tom (our narrator) moves into Cairo the apartment block and is befriended by Max. To put it nicely, Max is a whack-a-doodle. He is fascinating to both Tom and us the reader. He has interesting friends and views. His wife Sally seemed quiet in comparison to him and is Tom’s love interest.

The book moved at a good pace once you got about 60 pages in and had met Max and co., prior to that I was ready to walk away from it.

It has many iconic Melbourne/Aussie items in it and generally the characters are likeable as you begin to get to know them more. Max is the only one that I have mixed emotions about throughout the book. He sleeps around, hits his wife, bullies his friends, kills a person and generally things everything should be his way. Towards the end I wanted Tom to work out this man was not a good man. Which he does and he tries to show Sally the truth too. However, she’s too far gone.


My one left over question that I would like confirmed is …. Is Sally’s baby fathered by Tom???

My rating 3/5.


‘See What I Have Done’ by Sarah Schmidt

see what i have doneLizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.

Lizzie Borden and her story has always fascinated me. Did she do it and if so why would she do that to her family? Such a vicious and cruel crime.

This book certainly does not try to solve a 100-year-old crime. Instead it looks further into the family life and what might have been going on behind the door at 92 Second Street.

The book can be a little confusing at times as there are 4 different story tellers and each seems to jump forward and backward in time. It takes a little bit to get use to, but once you get into the rhythm of it, its actually brings something unique to the telling of the story.

Another unusual aspect of this story is how Sarah focuses on the smells, tastes and touch of everything in the characters lives. At times this can be taken a little too far. There are only so many times I need to know there might have been something off with the mutton soup and how the characters were all sick from it.

The last few entries from the characters are eerie and they start to come full circle and show the aftermath of the murders and where they all ended up. I got the chills towards the end and it has left me with more questions than answers but I think that’s a sign of a good story.

Sarah has written more than a story here, she has written a world that you can step into and be immersed in. It’s brilliant writing and it has left me more fascinated with Lizzie and why she did it.

My rating is 4/5.