Living on Hope Street
About the book
We all love someone. We all fear something. Sometimes they live right next door—or even closer. On this street, everyone comes from different places, but to find peace they will have to discover what unites them. A deeply moving, unflinching portrait of modern Australian suburban life.
About the author
Demet Divaroren is the co-editor of the CBCA short-listed Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia. Demet was born in Adana, Turkey, and migrated to Australia with her family when she was six months old. She teaches creative writing at TAFE and writes fiction and non-fiction exploring life, love and the complexities of human emotions.
In this powerful debut novel, Demet Divaroren authentically portrays the everyday lives of a number of working class families as they come to terms with a range of challenging contemporary issues in a suburban street. Each of the central characters is richly drawn as they share their individual stories. Kane, his mother Angie and younger brother Sam are living with increasingly terrifying domestic violence. The depth of Kane's anger demonstrates how they are faced with the very real possibility of its intergenerational repetition. Fortunately this family is not alone—their neighbour Mrs Aslan is always there to love and support them despite her own grief and loss. Her estranged granddaughter Ada is at odds with her mother as she searches for her own identity. Newly arrived refugee Gugulethu and her family are leaving past trauma behind and adapting to a new culture. At the same time they find joy in their new life and extend the hand of friendship.
Nearby war veteran Mr Bailey struggles with racism and the demons from his own war experiences. Several times the same incidents are retold through the eyes of different characters, these expertly crafted voices enabling the reader to understand and empathise with multiple perspectives. Each voice is authentic—the reader can feel Sam's fear and increasing sense of isolation both at home and school and bemoan Mrs Aslan's despair at her daughter's rejection. As the novel unfolds, these separate stories are skilfully interwoven and the community grows together, finally galvanising into action when called upon.
Living on Hope Street is an honest and thought-provoking celebration of human courage and resilience; the importance of family and friendship; the need to build intercultural understandings; and the hopefulness that can foster new beginnings.