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Vera and David have been passionately in love since the day they met more than twenty years ago. They live in the Blue Mountains where Vera is a sculptor and David makes furniture. Their son, Ben, is at university in Sydney.
Or at least he was. What the Light Hides begins five months after Ben’s death, an apparent suicide. Vera is trying to pick up the pieces, but David cannot let go, cannot believe that Ben is dead. He goes to Sydney, ostensibly to work, but cannot get Ben out of his mind. He keeps seeing him in the street, visits the room where he was living, goes in pursuit of Ben’s friends. His refusal to come to terms with the death of his son is destroying his relationship with Vera, but he cannot help himself, in spite of all the evidence. David is risking everything.
Mette Jakobsen’s gifts of delicate and empathetic observation are on display in this tender and moving novel, a much-anticipated follow-up to her debut, The Vanishing Act.
‘Mette Jakobsen is an expert in creating images…Jakobsen describes the sights and sounds of inner-city Newtown as lovingly as she details the bush in the Blue Mountains.’
‘A moving look at love and loss.’
‘Jakobsen skillfully paints the picture of grief, illustrates the importance of empathetic support and shows just how destructive denial can be. Her characters are real and flawed, and it is impossible not to feel their suffering. She evokes her setting, both the mountains and the inner city, with consummate ease. Many readers will find they are moved to tears by this stirring read.’
‘This was such powerful writing, and I could feel all of the characters leaping out of their pages like real people…I felt like I was walking the streets of Sydney and the mountain homes.’
‘A short book that packs an emotional punch.’
‘Jakobsen’s sensory sensibility shines…Beautifully evocative and undoubtedly Australian in its voice.’
‘A tenderly rendered story…Quietly written with a deft hand and a light touch.’
‘Jakobsen writes with a lightness of touch…I felt like I was in the heart and ticking time bomb of loss…This is an absorbing read; beautifully paced, exquisitely written.’
‘Poignant…The suicide of a child seems an unlikely subject for a rewarding novel, but Jakobsen has written a very special book, a tender and considered exploration of how we love and how we cope with loss.’
‘This little novel delves into the subject of loss and grief with a light touch and acute sensitivity.’
‘Lyrical, beautiful and frequently allegorical…What the Light Hides is a hauntingly moving story about the ways in which grief can affect a family, causing shock, confusion, disbelief, emptiness, guilt and regret; but most especially the book is about how losing a child can be heartbreaking.’