You Belong Here
Margaret River Press, $25 pb, 256 pp, 9780648203902
Interwoven short story collections are often at their best when they offer multiple perspectives on the same event. Laurie Steed does this well in his début novel You Belong Here, as he captures the life of a single family through the multiplicity of its members.
Jen meets Steven on her way to a party in Brunswick in 1972; within a few years they are married. Steed shows the way two people bring their respective personal histories to a relationship, ‘a Möbius strip of past and present, with neither gaining traction’. Steven works at Tullamarine in air traffic control, but is unable to quarantine the stresses of his job from his domestic life. By 1980 the couple have three children. One of the strengths of the book is the way that Steed writes about the challenges of parenthood: the weight of the responsibility and the sacrifice of individuality parents make in its name. Moments of love that pass from parents to their children are also rendered nicely.