Thanks to the internet, the 24/7 news cycle, and social media, certain books are preceded by their reputations. They arrive freighted with so much publicity hype that reading them with fresh eyes is almost impossible. A Constant Hum is one such book, very much the product of a reputation established well before publication, due to the airing of individual stories in places like Seizure and Meanjin, along with several prizes and shortlistings.
Despite my resistance to googling this book and its author, plus bypassing the considerable prelim pages of glowing comments by famous authors and from other literary reviews, I still came to my reading of A Constant Hum armed with too much knowledge. A sense of anxiety prevailed: would it live up to its reputation, would I be disappointed, would I feel intimidated if I had to disagree with the likes of Tony Birch and Fiona Wright?