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We Were Not Men

Campbell Mattinson

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01 June 2021
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ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Twin nine year old brothers Jon and Eden lose their parents in an appalling car accident. Jon who narrates this story, saw what happened to them, and it's the only secret he keeps from his beloved brother. Both boys were dreadfully injured, and as part of their rehabilitation take on swimming to gain back their strength. It becomes both solace and identity for them, as they negotiate life without their parents, and with their step-grandmother, Bobbie. She has never wanted or had children, is struggling with the earlier loss of her husband, and now landed with the twins, struggles to cope with the demands of bringing them up while running her vineyard. Already very close, the boys draw closer together, though they are rivals in swimming. By the time they are sixteen, they will be enemies because life is not smooth, and Carmelina happens to them both… Striking prose, pared back and poetic at times, which examines the bonds of brotherhood and family, the effects of grief and desperation, and what is truly important and vitally essential in reaching acceptance and maturity. I won't be surprised if this is on award lists next year... Lindy

A novel that punches you in the heart: the powerful, unbearably moving and ultimately uplifting story of twin brothers, Jon and Eden, as they grow up and begin to understand what it is to be men, and what it takes to knit a fractured family back together.

This is a story about love.

Love for nine-year-old twins Jon and Eden Hardacre is simple. Their mum, the creek that they swim in, each other - this is the love that they trust, love as clear and pure as sunlight, as honey, as water. But then there's a terrible accident. And in its wake, they develop a desperation - a yearning - to outgrow tragedy. They get older, compete with each other, fall in love with the same girl, and begin to realise that their lives - and who they love - demand something more. Something deeper. Richer.

Heart-hammeringly original, intense and deeply moving, We Were Not Men is a powerhouse novel about all the various faces that love shows us and how sometimes, distracted by life, ambition or attraction, we take it for granted until it's too late - or almost too late. An unforgettable novel about the difference between getting older and growing up, from an astonishing new and original voice, pulsing with grief, hope and love.

It is a revelation.

'A gut-punching, soul-restoring exploration of brotherhood and human bonds that bend but do not break. You'll dive in at the deep end and you won't want to stop swimming in Campbell Mattinson's words.' Trent Dalton 'Mattinson charts the rough terrain of grief with a tender, huge-hearted story of rivalry and love.' Mark Brandi
By:   Campbell Mattinson
Imprint:   HARPER360
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   429g
ISBN:   9781460759523
ISBN 10:   1460759524
Publication Date:   01 June 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Campbell Mattinson is an Australian editor, writer and critic. He is a former editor of Halliday Magazine, was the founding editor of Australian Sommelier Magazine, has been the publisher of The Wine Front website since 2002 and is the former SUNDAY Magazine wine columnist in Sydney and Melbourne. He was also a columnist at Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine for nearly ten years, ending in 2011. He has won sportswriting awards and short story awards in Australia, and more recently awards for his wine writing.

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