Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Gravity Is The Thing' by Jaclyn Moriarty

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Gravity Is The Thing' by Jaclyn Moriarty

Gravity Is The Thing

by Jaclyn Moriarty

Pan Macmillan, $32.99 pb, 472 pp, 9781760559502

The first thing one notices about Jaclyn Moriarty’s Gravity Is the Thing is its narrative voice: distinctive, almost stylised. Exclamation marks, emphasised words in italics, a staccato rhythm, and clever comments in parentheses add up to a writing style sometimes deemed quirky. This style is not restricted to the voice of the first-person narrator but rather is a lens through which the work and its characters are cast. It reflects, more broadly, the author’s playful approach to language (as seen, too, in her website and blogs).

Moriarty is known for her witty, imaginative fiction for children and young adults, which has garnered such prizes as the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, the Queensland Literary Award, and the Aurealis Award. While Moriarty’s 2007 adult début, I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes, was titled and packaged to highlight its whimsy, the cover of her second adult novel, Gravity Is the Thing, suggests contemporary realist fiction with a contemplative tone. (Interestingly, the book’s North American publisher, HarperCollins, has opted for a quirky illustrated cover design reminiscent of Brooke Davis’s Lost and Found.) The book is aimed at the popular market and carries glowing endorsements from bestselling Irish author Marian Keyes, as well as another successful Moriarty – Jaclyn’s sister Liane.

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Published in May 2019, no. 411
Naama Grey-Smith

Naama Grey-Smith

Naama Grey-Smith is an editor, publisher and critic based in Fremantle, Western Australia. She has edited award-winning fiction and non-fiction, and was among the initiators of creative journal dotdotdash. Her enduring interests are language, memory and place.