Gretchen Shirm reviews 'You Belong Here' by Laurie Steed

Gretchen Shirm reviews 'You Belong Here'  by Laurie Steed

You Belong Here

by Laurie Steed

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.

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Published in May 2018, no. 401
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.

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