Grief is universal and eternal, yet how we deal with it—or how it deals with us—depends on who is grieving, when, and with whom.
Losing a father isn’t easy. Neither is the split existence you live afterwards when you can still conjure up the past where he was alive and still having to live in the present where he is not. On the outside, she’s a functioning member of society, but what is a life divided between the day-to-day reality of what she’s experiencing with people her age, this life that she’s leading, and a feeling of estrangement, grief, and need? Friends & Dark Shapes follows a group of young housemates in Sydney’s inner city as they contend with gentrification and divisive politics, their own complicated privilege as second-generation Australians, the evolving world of dating, struggling to find a career, wondering why everything is so expensive. In other words, rent is nuts, nobody is getting young, and everyone remains unsatisfied, always wanting something more.
The world these characters inhabit, the emotions they struggle to understand (and even feel), their ambivalence and confusion about the future, work, the political issues of the day, relationships, and each other all weave together to create the background for a poignant story about loss.
Friends & Dark Shapes is funny but substantial, tight and well-written. From the tautness of each individual vignette to the full power of the whole, Friends & Dark Shapes brings forth a bold, new voice that needs to be heard.
Kavita Bedford is an award-winning Australian-Indian writer with a background in journalism, anthropology, and literature. She was a 2018 Churchill Fellow exploring migrant and refugee narratives, and was the former Editor of The Point Magazine, exploring the impact of overseas conflict on diaspora communities. She is the creative producer of a grassroots storytelling project, Mapping Frictions: Stories from Western Sydney. Friends & Dark Shapes is her first novel.