Gretchen Shirm reviews 'Relativity' by Antonia Hayes

Gretchen Shirm reviews 'Relativity' by Antonia Hayes

Relativity

by Antonia Hayes

Viking, $32.99 pb, 356 pp, 9780670078585

It is not difficult to see why the publisher expects Relativity to find a wide readership; centred on Ethan its eccentric, physics-obsessed young protagonist, this is a touching portrayal of a fractured family.

Claire has always known her son is special, with his talent for numbers and precocious knowledge of astronomical facts. At school, his peers call him ‘Stephen Hawking’, but to Ethan this is ‘the greatest compliment’. Claire gave up her career as a ballet dancer in order to raise her son. Despite Claire’s loneliness and the unspoken mystery of Ethan’s absent father, the two have a loving relationship. When Ethan’s estranged father, Mark, contacts Claire in an effort to fulfil his own father’s dying wish to see his grandson, several coincidences coalesce to draw Mark back into their lives.

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Published in October 2015, no. 375
Gretchen Shirm

Gretchen Shirm

Gretchen Shirm’s collection of interwoven short stories Having Cried Wolf was published in September 2010 and was shortlisted for the UTS/Glenda Adams Award for New Writing. In 2011, she was named as aSydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelist. Her writing has been published in The Australian, Best Australian Stories 2011, Review of Australian Fiction, Southerly, Sydney Review of Books and The Saturday Paper. She is a candidate for her Doctor of Creative Arts at the Writing & Society Research Centre, University of Western Sydney.