He sways as he lights his pipe. Neil is probably the last intellectual in Sydney who believes that smoking a pipe enhances his image. Slowly the living room fills with the smell of pipe tobacco, oddly reminding me of the pigeon manure ...
Author: Mette Jakobsen
Publisher: Text Publishing
Vera and David have been passionately in love since the day they met more than twenty years ago. They live in the Blue Mountains where Vera is a sculptor and David makes furniture. Their son, Ben, is at university in Sydney. Or at least he was. What the Light Hides begins five months after Ben’s death, an apparent suicide. Vera is trying to pick up the pieces, but David cannot let go, cannot believe that Ben is dead. He goes to Sydney, ostensibly to work, but cannot get Ben out of his mind. He keeps seeing him in the street, visits the room where he was living, goes in pursuit of Ben’s friends. His refusal to come to terms with the death of his son is destroying his relationship with Vera, but he cannot help himself, in spite of all the evidence. David is risking everything. Mette Jakobsen’s gifts of delicate and empathetic observation are on display in this tender and moving novel, a much-anticipated follow-up to her debut, The Vanishing Act. Mette Jakobsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and now lives in Newtown, Sydney. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and a BA in philosophy. In 2004 she graduated from NIDA’s Playwrights Studio and several of her plays have been broadcast on ABC Radio National. Her novels are The Vanishing Act, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2012, and What the Light Hides. ‘Mette Jakobsen is an expert in creating images...Jakobsen describes the sights and sounds of inner-city Newtown as lovingly as she details the bush in the Blue Mountains.’ Readings ‘A moving look at love and loss.’ New Zealand Women’s Weekly ‘Jakobsen skillfully paints the picture of grief, illustrates the importance of empathetic support and shows just how destructive denial can be. Her characters are real and flawed, and it is impossible not to feel their suffering. She evokes her setting, both the mountains and the inner city, with consummate ease. Many readers will find they are moved to tears by this stirring read.’ BookMooch ‘A short book that packs an emotional punch.’ Otago Daily Times ‘Jakobsen’s sensory sensibility shines…Beautifully evocative and undoubtedly Australian in its voice.’ Farrago ‘A tenderly rendered story…Quietly written with a deft hand and a light touch.’ Geelong Advertiser ‘This was such powerful writing, and I could feel all of the characters leaping out of their pages like real people…I felt like I was walking the streets of Sydney and the mountain homes.’ Cosy Dragon ‘Poignant…The suicide of a child seems an unlikely subject for a rewarding novel, but Jakobsen has written a very special book, a tender and considered exploration of how we love and how we cope with loss.’ Adelaide Advertiser ‘A moving portrayal of denial, the first stage of grief.’ Big Book Club ‘A delicate portrayal of shared grief…Impressionistic and beautifully written.’ Overland ‘This little novel delves into the subject of loss and grief with a light touch and acute sensitivity.’ North & South