Love and Virtue (Ultimo Press) shines a light on power relations and the intricacies of friendship through the eyes of two very different university students, Michaela and Eve, in their first year at uni. The pair are residential scholarship students and become close friends as they navigate their way in a new environment.

Author Diana Reid’s writing is cleverly detailed, and her observations are insightful. As a result, the reader is left with a feeling of knowing the characters intimately. At the heart of the novel is the issue of consent, not just in the sexual context, but in owning your own narrative, and the importance of this, without which the author believes you can never truly be free.

This is a stunning debut novel from Sydney-based Reid, who managed to collect a host of awards for the book, including the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Book of the Year Award, ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Booksellers’ Choice Fiction Book of the Year and the MUD Literary Prize. Her second novel Seeing Other People came out in October this year. Reid is a promising new writer and definitely one to watch out for!

By Jenny Welsh


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