Combined Reviews: Reunion by Andrea Goldsmith

reunion.jpg    Reunion
Andrea Goldsmith

From the publisher's page

Old friendships are expected to maintain their shape despite distance, lovers, careers, new friends. But twenty years is a long time.

Ava is an internationally acclaimed novelist who carries with her a lifetime of secrets.

Helen, a brilliant and dedicated molecular biologist, is faced with unexpected moral dilemmas as she finds herself drawn into bioterrorism research.

Conrad is a philosopher with a popular media profile and a desire for a much younger woman.

And Jack, whose career has stalled in the light of his long unrequited love for Ava, is a scholar of the history and culture of Islam.

It is Ava's husband, Harry, a man for whom the others can barely conceal their disdain, who has drawn them back to Melbourne where they first met at university.

As they deal with the reality of their present lives and their memories of the past, none will be unchanged by the reunion. And not everyone will survive.

Andrea Goldsmith has created a story of love, power, friendship and betrayal that is as gripping as it is exquisitely insightful.


Kirsten Alexander on ABC Radio National's "The Book Show": "Like the best of Iris Murdoch's novels, Reunion creeps up on you after the fact. In this novel, we meet a man who sleeps with a neglected schoolgirl. We meet a woman who is without remorse for her repeated infidelities. And we meet a woman who puts her work before her friends, even when her best friend is dying...On paper, you'd agree that's a pretty reprehensible bunch and yet they are our main characters, and Goldsmith tells her story through them. More than that, she writes them as flawed but endearing, mostly likeable individuals. She doesn't moralise, she doesn't judge. Some of her characters come unstuck as the result of their behaviour but only temporarily, and never without the possibility of redemption...Reunion is an interesting, commendable novel with breadth and wisdom that is enormously attractive."

Jennifer Levasseur in "The Australian": "It's a mystery why Andrea Goldsmith is not a household name...Her latest offering should be welcomed with the excitement that greets the best Australian novelists working today. It is baffling that her previous five novels, which include Facing the Music and Under the Knife, are out of print. Aside from being a rigorous thinker, a deft juggler of the complexities of human experience, a wordsmith and a loving chronicler of place, she tells a damn good story...Reunion, like all good science and art, invigorates. Rather than trying to divorce the cerebral from the mundane, Goldsmith shows people living lives of the mind while getting on with buying pasta, remembering old flames, worrying over which tram to take, reciting poetry, having sex and drinking too much...As in life, Goldsmith's characters have all shades. They are honest and deceptive, disciplined and deluded, obtuse and charming, embarrassingly earnest and pragmatic."

Judith Armstrong in "Australian Book Review": "As the past catches up with and merges into the present, the writing comes into flower but retains its essential dependence on the minutiae that have drawn us into these personal but exposed lives. Not only does Goldsmith excel at the interior monologue, she makes us visualise architecture and interiors, feel the variations in the weather, taste the ripeness of a cheese. At the same time, she inserts the textural details into a larger background, be it historical, geographical, political or ideological. The world she builds up in painstaking yet light strokes is entirely convincing, both in novelistic terms and also in its realistic portrayal of Melbourne from the 1970s to the present."

Short Notices

Jo Case in "The Monthly: "Andrea Goldsmith's new novel is truly exciting. Like its brilliant protagonists, Reunion is passionate about ideas, dissecting them thoroughly and hungrily...[it] is dense with ideas that never overpower its characters and plot, but instead drive them with a seemingly instinctual logic."

"Boomerang Books" weblog: "Reunion is a story of friendship and love, power and betrayal, all played out against some of Melbourne's well-loved landmarks (Carlton bookshops, cafes, and Melbourne University, among others). This is no fast-paced page-turner though, as Andrea Goldsmith subtley and sensitively investigates what goes on beneath the action. It's the inner lives of the characters that she explores on these pages -- their doubts, fears, joys and obsessions."

"Australian Mothers Online" website: "Goldsmith's words are so thought-provoking that there are endless topics of discussion that arise from this story of 4 fairly ordinary friends. She explores love and relationships on many levels -- committed, enduring love; unrequited love; the effects of betrayal on love and love squandered."


Jo Case, of "Readings Monthly", talks to the author.

Magdalena Ball on "The Compulsive Reader" website.


"Slow TV" has video of Goldsmith in conversation with Drusilla Modjeska.

Lisa Hill saw the author being interviewed by Michael Williams at the 2009 Melbourne Writers Festival.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 26, 2009 12:00 PM.

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