Marshmallow by Victoria Hannan

Our Rating
Author: Victoria Hannan

Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733649516

RRP: $22.99

Victoria Hannan was the 2019 winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literacy Award for her debut novel Kokomo. Her second novel, Marshmallow, is an equally impressive exploration of the human condition, and it’s a moving and heart-wrenching novel about love, trauma and grief.

Set in Melbourne, the novel follows five friends whose lives are forever changed after attending a birthday party where their friends, Annie and Nathan, lose their child in a tragic incident.

Told from multiple perspectives, the novel explores the complexity of grief and how people deal with trauma differently. With the anniversary of Annie and Nathan’s child’s death approaching, Hannan show us the varying ways each character buries and confronts their trauma. Al resorts to alcohol, Claire buries herself in work, Ev focuses her attention on others while neglecting her own needs, and Annie and Nathan are living in a state of unravelling despair.

Despite being long-time friends – we see their grief alters their relationships – eroding their ability to feel comfortable around one another, and ultimately leaving them to confront their grief alone. I particularly felt for the character Al, who is haunted by feelings of guilt due to the death of an old friend, which ultimately leads to self-destructive behaviour.

Hannan carefully guides us through the various stages of grief experienced by her characters and over time we get to see them heal. And while this is fundamentally a story about loss and grief, it’s also filled with moments of humour, love and joy.

This is an excellent novel that highlights the fragility of life – and how in just a single moment, the course of your life can be completely altered.

Reviewed by Akina Hansen

Visit Victoria Hannan’s website

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