Nova Weetman, Everything is Changed, University of Queensland Press, 3 Oct 2016, 272pp., $19.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9780702254161
Nova Weetman has produced a memorable novel that features an experimental narrative technique and, at the same time, a page-turning story about the lives of characters we care for. The novel is broken, chapter by chapter, into alternating viewpoints between the main characters. But more daring than this is the arrangement of events in a backwards sequence, so that as readers we begin the novel witnessing the life-changing consequences of an act that we will only uncover in the final chapter. This backward flow of events is more challenging and more fun than you might expect. I had to keep reminding myself that I knew already the outcome of each incident and shift in the story, and that what I was seeking as a reader were the origins of each event and episode, leading back to the original big mistake (crime, actually) that Alex and Jake, lifelong friends, were responsible for committing. The novel is a study in the differing reactions we might have to a devastating event, a terrible decision these characters made, one that we know will have tragic consequences. The fact that Jake and Alex are in love with the same girl doesn’t help the situation for these friends, and presents the reader with a complex set of motivations to understand and speculate upon as the events unfold backwards. The novel is set in contemporary Melbourne, adding to its aura as a city of literature. You will be pleased to have read Everything is Changed when people begin to talk about this unusual novel. Suitable for 14 to 18 year olds.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy
- Read Renee Mihulka’s review of Everything is Changed