Saturday, 7 August 2021

Book Review: Love Objects by Emily Maguire

 Love Objects
Emily Maguire
A stunning, simply told story of great compassion and insight, from the author of the Stella Prize-shortlisted An Isolated Incident.  
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 30th March 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 400
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected paperback proof
Source: Won
About the book
 Nic is a forty-five-year-old trivia buff, amateur nail artist and fairy godmother to the neighbourhood's stray cats. She's also the owner of a decade's worth of daily newspapers, enough clothes and shoes to fill Big W three times over and a pen collection which, if laid end-to-end, would probably circle her house twice.

The person she's closest to in the world is her beloved niece Lena, who she meets for lunch every Sunday. One day Nic fails to show up. When Lena travels to her aunt's house to see if Nic's all right, she gets the shock of her life, and sets in train a series of events that will prove cataclysmic for them both. 
My review
I have to mention the stunning cover of this book which perfectly depicts it's inner story of a woman totally consumed by her surroundings.
Nic is a middle-aged woman who has a whole consuming empathy for inanimate objects. She feels these objects have feelings of loneliness and rejection. Her obsession with collecting, or in her mind saving, these items has filled her home to the level that it is unsafe to live in.
Nic's niece Lena, at twenty, is experiencing life away from home, living in a Uni share apartment, when one disastrous relationship, with the Uni's hot jock, has her image plastered all over the internet. 
Emily Maguire gives her readers two very different story lines. Nic's hoarding was well written with her emotions and thoughts being openly and sensitively portrayed. Maguire took us right into Nic's head and it was easy to feel empathy for her. Whereas Lena's predicament related more to a young adult audience. Her narrative was crass and sexually explicit. I felt her problem wasn't as overwhelming as she made it. Explicit images put on the internet is not uncommon and I think young women know how to deal with this. Change your phone number for a start!!
I could appreciate Maguire's connection between what Lena did to Nic and what happened to Lena as both of them felt violated but I don't think Lena saw that connection which should have been the whole point of the story.
There is also a third narrative of Lena's brother, Will, trying to restart his life after a stint in jail and a relationship breakdown.
I enjoyed the themes of class, family, moving on and compromise but I felt Lena's problem was all wrapped up too neatly.
I was after a story on the psychology of hoarding and although I did get this I wasn't particularly interested in Lena's or Will's stories.
My rating 2.5-3 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Emily Maguire is the author of six novels, including the Stella Prize and Miles Franklin Award shortlisted An Isolated Incident, and three non fiction books. Her articles and essays on sex, feminism, culture and literature have been published widely, including in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Observer and The Age. Emily works as a teacher and as a mentor to young and emerging writers and was the 2018/2019 Writer-in-Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21


  1. This cover is a work of art - even if I'd hated Love Objects, I'd keep it for that alone. Luckily, I really enjoyed it! I was surprised, too, that it didn't delve further into the psychology of hoarding, but the recurring theme of violation was really well done, I thought :)

    1. I don’t think Lena had any idea that she violated Nic so deeply. Maybe that was the whole idea that Lena didn’t get it. The book just confused me. And yes, I love that cover.